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SUNDAY PUNCH

Agric - Economy

APR IL 17, 2011

BUSINESS

26

FG signs N522m contract for dam construction EMEKA EZEKIEL

• Ogun, Kaduna benefit

HE Federal Government hassigned N522m contract with two Nigerian firms for the construction two earth dam projects in Kaduna and Ogun State. The two firms are Gentech Power Nigeria limited and Top-Man Engineering a nd Construction

limited . The National Coordinator, National Programme for Agriculture and Food Security, Alhaji Bukar Tijani , who confirmed the development in Abuja , said the dams would provide water for irrigation purposes as part of re newed efforts to boost food production on Nigeria. According to wisegeek.com , an earth dam is a dam built with highly compacted earth. This dam is classified as a type of embankment dam , being built in the shape of an embankment or wedge which blocks a waterway. It is very cost effective to build, which makes it appealing in some regions of the world . The dam can be made with local materials thereby cutting down on the expenses involved in acquiri ng and transporting materials to the dam site. In addition earth dams also often contain rock, and may be filled with a core of rock. Specifically, the pilot earth dam project in Kaduna is expected to gulp about N247m while the one in Ogun state wi ll cost funded about N275m . The project is expected to be completed in six weeks. Tijani said, "The construction and rehabilitation of earth dams in the two states. The two contractors are Gentech Power Nigeria limited for Kaduna State , and Top-Man Engineering and Construction limited for Ogun State. "The programme will begin immediately and is expected to be completed withi n six months. We will receive support from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa. This is the first time we will be benefitting from BADlYA in Nigeria . He added, "We are starting with the construction and rehabilitation of earth dams in the two states : Kadu-na and Ogun States. The contractors that will handle the project are Gentech Power Nigeria limited for Kaduna State, and TopMan Engineering and Construction limited for Ogun State. "On our part. we will ensure that the job is well done and at the right time too. Expectedly, Kaduna and Ogun are the key states where Ih is programme will show how dedicated we are to this project. Although four states, including Ogun , Oyo, Katsina, and Kaduna are supposed to benefit from the Arabian Bank's donation , we a re using the first allocation to test how since re Nigerians are in the fight against hunger. The Chief Technical Adviser of the earth dams' project, Mr. Abdulazeez Mohammed disclosed that six new dams and three rehabi li talion of old dams would be built in Kaduna, while Ogun will have six new dams and three rehabilitation 'J?f old ones.

• A dam in Nigeria

Low fertilizer application fuels deforestation in Nigeria, others IITA EMEKA EZEKIEL OW-input farming for cocoa , cassava

and has

oil

palm resulted

in

widespread

deforestation and degradation in Nigeria and other West Africa's tropical forest area, according to a

new study by researchers at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture and

Global food price index down by 2.9%-FAO HE Global Food stock levels, the implications Price Index has for oil prices of events in decreased by 2.9 the Midd le East and North per cent, the Food Africa and the effecls of Ihe and Agrkultural destruclion in Japan all make Organisation has said. for continuing uncertainty According to FAO Director and price volatility over the of Trade and Market Division coming months" Mr. David Hallam , , Food The FAO further disclosed Price Index has dropped that the internalional price for the first time after eight o f sugar dropped the most, months .of continuous price followed by cereals. By spikes. . contrast, dairy and meat He noted that Food prices were up, although Price Index averaged 230 only marginally in the case points in March 2011 , down . o: rneat. 2.9 percent from its peak in " stated that, "The Cereal February, but still 37 percent Price Index averaged 252 above March of last year. points in March, down 2.6 He said, "The decrease in percent from February, but the overall index this month still 60 percent higher than brings some welcome respite in March 2010. March was from the steady increases seen extremely volatile for grains, over the last eight months with international quotations .But it would be premature to first plunging sharply, conclude that this is a reversal drive n largely by outside of the upward trend" . market developmenls such "We need to see the as the increased economic information on new plantings uncertainties accompanying over the next few weeks the turmoil in North Africa to get an idea of future and parts of the Near East production levels. But low as well as the Japanese

earthquake

and

tsuna mi ,

before regaining most of their

losses. Rice prices also fell as a resu lt of abundant supply in exporting countries and

sluggish import demand. ''The Sugar Price Index averaged 372 points in March , down as much as 10 percent from the highs of January and February while Price Index averaged 234 points in March, up 1.9 percent from February and 37 percent above its level in March 2010. "The Meal Price Index averaged 169 points in March, little changed from February. World procluction of cereals fell in 2010, resulting in falling stocks, wh ile total cereal utilization is expected to reach a record

level in 20101l1.While most indications point to increased

cereal production in 20 ll , the projected growth may not be sufficient to replenish inventories, in w hich case

prices

could

throughout well."

remain

firm

2011 /12

as

the Center for International . the same outputs without rampant deforestation Forestry Research . through the intensified use of Cocoa production in West Africa is an important fertilizer and agrochemicals coupled with improved crop commercial sector and a source of livelihood for about husbandry. According to two million households in UTA, by doing so farmers the region . For the last 20 would have doubled their years Cote d' ivoire has been incomes and helped to avoid the largest producer both in deforestation and degradation terms of output and numbers on 2 .1 million hectares and in of producers, followed the process, this would have by Ghana, Nigeria, and generated a value of over Cameroon with these four 1,600 million do llars on 1.3 billion tons of C02 emissions countries now accounting for 70 per cent of global cocoa that would not have come from deforestation . supply. Commenting on the According to the study, report, UTA said, "The cocoa production in West Africa's Guinean Rai nforest findings should be laken into region doubled between consideration in discussions 1987 and 2007, but most of around efforts to reduce this increase was fueled by emissions from deforestation , clearing forest areas resulting say researchers. Instead of in large losses of biodiversity considering complicated and high carbon emissions. strategies involving monetary The Guinean Rainforest or in-kind transfers to farmers of West Africa, identified or com"munities for altering over 20 years ago as a global their land use behavior, biodiversity hotspot, had REDD funds could be used reduced to 113,000 km2 at the to incentivize and promote agricultural intensification start of the new millennium, which was 18 per cent of its efforts that would lead original area, according to the to higher rural incomes, report. The principal driver greater food security, and avoided emissions through of this environmental change has been the expansion the achievement of higher of low-input smallholder agricultural yields" . agriculture that depends on The limited use of fertilize r environmentally destructive in the GRF (less than 4 kg practices like slash-and-burn of total nutrients per hal and land clearing. may have been logical in 1960, when West African However, researchers at UTA found that increasing populations were only 25% of today's levels and forest fertilizer use on cocoa- timber farms would have spared land was still relatively That choice roughly two million hectares abundant. of tropical forest from is no longer lenable in a ' context where only 15 to 20 being cleared or severely degraded . percent of the GRF remains. The study suggests that There are no longer any farmers could have achieved frontier forests in West Africa

for

future

generations

to

exploit. Strategies to reduce deforestation and conserve

biodiversity in West Africa must focus on transforming

agricultura l practices from traditional to modern science

based methods. "Fertilizers for forest" technology to sustainably intensify production is available and has achieved impressive cocoa yie ld increases on a

limited scale in parts of the GRF. According to the authors, funding support for reducing carbon

emissions

due

to

deforestalionanddegradation (REDD) ·to mitigate climate change as d iscussed in th e

Copenhagen Accord offers the potential of significant new public resources for needed investments in agricultural research and extension and market infrastructure to

support the transformation of traditional agriculture in West Africa. The estimated value of avoided C02 emissions is conservatively

estimated at $565 per hectare for achieving the envisaged doubling of yields. A significant proportion of REDD + funding should be used to increase the adoption a nd level of fertilizer use in a "fertilizers for forest" mitigation program. "There is a risk that if REDD interventions are only implemented within the forestry sector, while extensive

low input agriculture, the fundamental driver of deforestation in the region and the root cause of most rural poverty, gets neglected. This would be a mistake," said Gockowski.


THE OUNCH, 17 APRIL, 2011  

Low fertilizer application fuels deforestation in Nigeria, others –IITA

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