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JUNE 12, 2011


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Food production: British firm to assist Nigerian farmers EMEKA EZEK IEL leading Un ited Kingdom charity o r ganisa ti on, OKfam. has said that it will partner small scale farmers in Nigeria as part of its renewed effort5 to help the country boost rood production. The Associate Country Director. Oxfam GB. Mr. Tunde OjeL \vho gave the hint in Abuja. said the organisation would assist the farmers in the production and marketing o f ilgriC\lUurill producl5. He said. ~About 70 per cent of Nigeriilns depend on agriculture to make a living. Yet. Nigeria's farm ing industry has failed to keep up with the coun try's growing population . Nigeria IPtpeTiences regular food shortages and. although once a Iar!JP. exporter. has become a major importer of food in the region -With the government's annual budget allocation to agricu ltu re standing at a mere o ne per cent. farming is becoming a less sustainable livelihood. especially lor the younger generation We will u.'Ork with !mall-scale farmers to help them imp rove food production. lind sell their food in ml'lrkets. We encourage farmers to form producer groups together lind use their collective voice to lobby detision· makers fO~,extril suppOrt ilnd resources. He added. "Our global campaign titled 'Grow' aims to promote beller ways to grow, shilre, and live together. 10war<1!; helping to build a future w here eve~'One always has enough to eat. We are working towards overcoming and suffering poverty worldwide th rough a one programme approach, which integT()te5 humanitarian ald. developmem and cllmpaigning war;:. ~TheNigerianprogramme

is primaril~' <'In agricultural support programme with focus on small $ agriculture in general and strengthening the livelihoocb; of smllll SClIle fllrmers through campaigning for policy reforms in view of il5 impact on agriculture and livelihoods generally. In a l.O.'Orld where the wo rld's poorest now spend over 80 per cent of the ir IIlcome on food and where one in every seven indivldulils goes to bed

hungry, due to rising food prires, climate insecurities. underinvestment in small rood producers. insufficient land and resources amongst others, we should be worried . ~

According to him , the 12mpaign is a platform lor all stakeholders to collectivE! ly provide solutions, by making practical changes on how to produce, consume and manage food and other resources. He, however, appealed to the Fed'!ral Government budgetary

allocation to ilgriC\llwre In order to boost food production. He said, MAs Nigerians, we recogn ise that we are a part of th is imminent crisis, and, therefore. should be pilrt of the 5Olution. The reason we are joining other 45 countries to lilunch the Grow compaign is In recognition of the right of all Nigerians to have e nough food to eal_We are sta.keholders in crealing an enabling environment for sustainable rood. especially In our society where women in partiC\llar produce ma..t of

the food, lets come together to invest in the proouctivity of small scale food producers and also help avert naUonal food crisis through a concerted joint effort and awarenes,. , " But we .ne appealing to the Federal Gove rnment to fulfill Nigeria's commitment to the Maputo Declaration, which calls for increased investment in public agriC\liture to a minimum of 10 per cent o r national budgels and to raise ihe· sedor's growth by at least six per cent~

NPF microfinance expands , posts NlSO.7m profit SAMUEL AWOVINFA HE


Microfinanee Bank Pic has broadened its branch net\l,'ork the former seven

from branches to 10.

The Chairman, Board 01

Birector.; of the bank, Mrs. RoTence Adebanjo, said this at the 17th Annual General Meeting held in Lagos. Giving the report of the financial yeaf ended 31st December 2010 to the shareholders. she SlIid that dl!5pile the ripple effects 01 the world economic meltdown. the bank's profit after lax jumped by 77 per cent from NlO1.8m in 2009

to N1BO.7m in 2010. Ouring the 5(


she added, lis tolal assets grew by 22.5 per cent from

NS.2Sbn in 2009 to N6.43hn in 2010. while sh,ueholders


to peak at N3.43bn as compared to NJ.30bn in 2009, Adebanjo. a reliled Deputy


o f AJlice. said that the bank would continue to invest in th e training I'md development or lis staff in order to ensu re the best qUllJity or service was acco rded its dienls and cus tomers_ "In Ihe year under review, the bank achieved the connectivity or all ou r branches online real time. This expansion in our Information Technology, no doubt. has placed the bank In 11 ~ilion to serve il5 clients beller as the bank's clienl5 now enjoy tT() nsadion a lert on their accounts,~ she staled. Also, during the period under review, she explained that three memberS of manageme~t staff the participated In the first level of the CentT()1 Bank of Nigeria Microlinance certifiClltion programme and they all came out successful. The highlighl50fthe event were the re lease of dividend warranl5 to shareholders lind the inllugur1l ti on of NPF Microfinilnce Pic building at Obalende, Lagos.

Nigerian , Dutch firms in research partnership


'L-R: S e nior Brund Manage r, Guider, Niyerlan Breweries Pic, Mr. Ita Bassey; Manaying Direc to r, Mr. Nlco/ans Vervelde; and MarkeUng Director, Mr. Jacco Van D e r LInde n , durillg JiJejinal l1riU prese nlaUOII/o r th e GuIder Natlonol CORSumer Promo, In Logos.,. Oil Wednesda y,

Nigeria, others to sign water charter to boost agriculture ~~st~~:ab~ke ~~:i0P~~~~

IGERfA and five other member countries of the Lake River Chlld Basin Commission have concluded plans to create the Lake Chad Basin Water Ch,uter as part of efforl5 10 boost agriC\llture and water resources management. The Permanent Secrnlary, Ministry of Water Resources. Ambassador Godknows 19a1i, confirmed the development during a sensitiuation workshop in Abuja. The lake Chad Basin Commission was established in May, 1964. It comprises sill: member counlrie5 namely Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, libYil. Niger. and the Chad


Republi c. Nigeria has potential 10 irrigatel:lbout 3 .1billion hectares of farmland but only 150.000 hectares has ~n fully developed . In fact. only about 5,000 hedares is being inigllted under formal water control. 11 was learnt thl:ll irrigiltion had the potenti al o f increasing lIgriC\llturai productivity as much as ten· folds. GodknO\vs, Hov.. ever, who was represented by the Director, Human Resources, FedeTilI Ministry of Water Mrs. lami Resources. Bagaiya, explained tha t the charter would facilitate a

susta illllb!e management of the Lake Chad waler resoU!l:f!S for both fo r irrigation and agricultural purposes. He said, ~The Water Charter is one o f the programmes of the lCBe. The Water Charter of the lake Chad Ba5in has il5 basic objectives as the equity utilisation of regulation o f the waters of the Lake Chad; the development of lools for trans·boundary water management with a view to reducing poverty and socioeconomic development. "The water constitutes 1I binding framework. the glohal purpose of wh ich is

by means of integrated, equitable, coo rdinated mllnllgement of the River's shared wllter resources and environment. Tht<;fT()mework advocates good goVernil nCe. sub-regional cooperati on and solidarity based on the common interests of the member states. " He added. MThe National Stakeholders Wo rkshop is a follow up to the Regional Validation Workshop held by member states. The workshop is aimed at sensitising and creating i'Iwareness on the creation 01 Water Charter, which will serve an instrument for equitable utilisation o f resources of the bi'lsin."

market research firm. Brand Futu~ Con s ull ll nt s, has entered into an affiliation with 11 Dutch company, the {)pen World Market Research Network, based in Amsterdllm, to shilrpen il5 services provision in Nigerill. Ful u~, the Brand publisher of tkii Nigerian Banking Repori and the Nigerian Telecoms Report. said the partne rship would improve its business outlook lind perform,,"ce rllling by the public_ Open World, according to a statement by Brand Fu tu~, ha5experienced professionllis in all major economic centres of the \\IOrld including United States, Un ited Kingdom and Chinil. The organisation was said to be known in selecting partners on the basis of proven quality, resea rch eKperience, ability to design projects from dien!'s ilnd cross·border perspectives. The Chief ExeC\llive Officer. Brand FutuTl. Mr. Jonathan A1abede. said, "We are very eKcited at the opportunity to work with the Open World network, a network of like-minded companies who share the same paSliion excellence and productivity. We believe that this partnership will greatly enhance the way we work lind our clients wiJl ultima tely benefit from it. "

THE PUNCH, 12 JUNE, 2011