Page 1

SUNDAY ! 'UNCtl

Agric - Economy

SEPTEMBER 1S, 20 11

24

Minister

Maize revolution in Nigeria underway OM('BOLAJI SO LAG BADE -

N

tI

food

movt! to ennanU' securi ty. ctl!lIle

jobs. and cushion the effects o f rising food prices, Nig'?r;a is set 10 raise maize productIon to 20 million tons per annum in the nexl few years, up from the current eight million Ions. Speaking durillg a meeting with a team of e:tperts in Ahuja. Ihe Minister of Agricultule and Ruml Development Dr, Akin Adeslna. said II,e new efforts

would

transbrm

maize

production and make farming

more prolilable Adeslna said, MWe Illwe begun ~ journey of transformllliol'l--il Journey 10 IlHmgille(!r Nigerian agricul ture for high impact and success. hlCn!i)sing

maize producti<;on will en5U~ food security, <lind generate income lind job. ~ Maile is coo5Umed by millions of Nig?rians. but its productivity has been stymied by low adopliol'l o f Improved seeds, poor seed qUi!lUty. lillie or no 1I5£ of fertilisers. low investment in research funding and P')Or eclension services. In the (980s, Nigeria ecperienced a silenl maize revolution In he savannah but the transf1)!"fTlalion WM not sustained. Adeslna. Ih ?relore. UI!led o n expert!; 10 tran$late research and Innovatio ns Into impacts on lamlers' fk!lds. lidd ing that it must be al a scale thai could reduce hunger and PO·../E'I·ty.

Solwto budgets N300m to buy grain§ "' HE Sokoto Slate Gove r n m e nt h'!ls promised 10 Jlurthase 35.000 bag! of exCI!§ grains worth more than NJOOn from ';umels in its 23 local gQVf"mm !nt a lea!. TIle Comm i~oner for Agnclllltlfe. D- Jabb l Kilgori. told the Ne\JS Agency 0 1 Nigeria ill Sakoto o n Thu rsday thilt the grllins included milk t. guine..'\ com and main>. He SlIid th( ges tu re \\IOUld e nable I"rmer ; to have value for their agTlC'!l1 ural produce and boo'5ll00 i pnxiuclion Kilgori sai1 the gesture was also ru n' eeI a t curbing infllltion in the p,ices of food Items a nd preve nt the menace 01 mi·Jdle me n. He said. *The middlemen always buy Ihe excess food items flom i1umers I'll the peak of the '\arvest seasun and re·se!l the"Tl to Ihe people at eXOIbi tanl prices. By doing 5O. Ihey cheal the farmers and Ihe unsuspecl ng buyet"l. This is what we Wlnl lo curb."

l

"Also. ell rl y. intermediate, negative effects o f dimate ecologlUl I farmen zones, and " For Instance. hlgh- d rou ght- and striga-reslslant and late-maturing vlIrie lies dlange. We are optimistic Accofding to him. ' yielding 1Inr. d isease·resisti!lnt varieties Ihat could address with yields up 10 thrice liS that if given the necessary !JOIII!,","ent has resolved to va.rielies Iha l are: a&plable on-fa rm stresses, v•.'o uld be much as traditional varieties support we will achieve Ihe will help farmers tackle the 20 million lons."rebuild the broken walls of 10 Nigeria's va rious agro deployed to farmers. Nlgeria's agrioJllure. He added. ~ Our resolve Is clear; Grow Nigerian Agfkullure.ElIrlil'T. the visiton had submitted ill blueprint On how 10 lIChleve the new targe ls. Internlltio na l Institu te of Tropical AgrictJlture. Maize Breeder. Dr. Sam A;ala. said the focus on maize was a step in Ihe right direction "If you look 1I1 maize, it has the highest return on inves tment compared with other crops. So II we are a ble 10 ggl it right in maize it will be great. he said. Researchers a im 10 leverage on earlier successes recorded under the Doubling Maize Ptoject that proved that maize yield could be doubled on fa rmers' fields. Ajalll noted. " The new move \Vin a lso benel1t from the plethora 01 innOVllti ons U,at are sHU in intern llliOn&1 · L-R: PresIdent, Lagos State COUllcil for Tradesmen and Artisans, fltr. 8010 50llusl; DCIW'y Gouernor, and national researcll centres Logos State, HOIl. Adejoke Orelope -Adefullre; and CommissIoner for Comlllerce ond Industry, fltrs . Sola wa iling 10 be adopted by Oworu, at the Grand Ana/e of 201 J Trad esmen & Artisans Week celebrotJon '" Logos ... recelltly R

M

,

-..

Involve small farmers in agric transformation - LCCI ~l,HE Lagos Chamber of CommercP and Industry on Thu rsday urged the federal Governmen t to invo lve small-scale farmers in Ihe new 'Agricult ural Transformation Action

Ph!'lO. The Director General of LCC!. Mr. Muda Yusu f. to ld the News Agency 0/ Nigeria in Lagos that Ihe plan was an ind ication of governme nt"s re newed commitme nt to agricultural developm e nt. Yusuf said tha t the transformation process should involve small farme!"5 because they produced about 90 per cent o f agricult ural products in the coun try. Accordi ng to him. Ihis will d e finite ly impact on job crealion because the sector has huge potential to crea le jobs, ~The new p lan should the refore mainstream the small farmers. Jt is desirable to promote comme rcial agriculture. b ut it is critical to sUPl>orl the Small fa nners fOl improved produdivity as they are still the major drive rs o f the sector. ~ Yusuf said . He exp lained Ihat the plan 10 stop fertiliser subsidies as contained in the new p lan was laudable because o f th e abuse. He. ho\vever. urged the governme n t to assist

the fa rme rs in other ways. saying that a package o f incentives that would be e ffe ctive and less prone to abuse s hould be considered. "Subsid y has to come to the larmers in some o lhe r ways because a ll over the world the agricultural sector is subsidised for profitabili ty and suslainabilily. Yusuf said , He added thClt ex te nsion services. improved seedlings. fann settlement schemes and subsidised farming machines. amo ng o thers_ sho u ld be essential compone nts o f Ih is new project He Cllso said thaI prices s hould be guara nteed to protect investments in the sed or. -Price vola tilily in cro p prices. especially du ring harvest and off harves t seasons. is a major fa ctor in the risk profile of agricultural invest men t and guara nteed prices w ill add ress this concern. ~ he said . him . According to since agricultu re is a rural business. d evelopmenl of rural in fras tructure is Iherefore critical 10 the realisation of the transfom'ation obje ctives. He said that this wou ld also help to revefS'!: the , ural- u rban migration . The LCC I b os.s Also said that Ihe re was the need to address the development of agro·a llied industries to facilitale the sectors R

d evelopme nl "The secto r characterised by

.,

huge

post-harvest losses due lack o f storage facilities and poor linkages betv..'een 10

the ind ustries and agricultu ra l secto r.said.

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tn, t"

THE PUNCH, 18 OCTOBER, 2011  

Involve small farmers in agric transformation – LCCI

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