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47 fertiliser blending plants now operational in Nigeria—NSIA



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By Gistflash News

July 29, 2021

The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), says the number of fertiliser blending plants working in Nigeria has risen to 47.

Mr Uche Orji, NSIA’s Managing Director, disclosed this at the weekly State House media briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team, on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Orji said the NSIA managed the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) through which many developmental projects were being handled.

He said that the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI) had achieved set goals including reduction in the price of fertiliser.

“Now, let me switch from the PIDF and speak on the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative; the first thing is that the PFI has been truly revolutionary; it has achieved a number of key objectives.

“First objective is that we have now revived the domestic fertilizer blending industry.

“Before PIDF started, we had, I remember, fertiliser price in 2016, was as high as N13, 000 a bag; it was scarce; government was spending a lot of money on subsidy and there was no domestic blending industry at all operational.

`There were four working and running at less than 10 per cent utilisation.

“Post-PIDF, we have achieved the following successes: number one, the number of domestic blending plants involved in the fertiliser initiative has now gone from initially, we started with seven, got to 11 in the first year.

“We now have 47 blending plants; we had 30 last year. We have 47 now as part of the fertiliser initiative of the president.”

According to him, the moribund fertiliser industry has been revived.

“Number two, the cost of fertiliser then was N13, 000; the president, in the first year, brought it down to N5,500 and it has gone up a bit —N7,500 to N8000 still with inflation and whatever else that has happened, that is quite reasonable.

“I am seeing about N8, 600 to N9000, fine, fair enough; the point though is that the market has now become domesticated.

“We used to buy everything completely finished; now, we are bringing only raw materials we do not have in Nigeria and we are getting the local market to work.’’

He said that moving from four companies initially to 47 operational plants and from N13, 000 to N5, 500 had created domestic employment.

“Third point, even with price at N13, 000 in 2016, there was scarcity everywhere;  in the first year of PFI being implemented, we had seven million bags of excess products in the warehouses.

“So, nobody, I hear is complaining about fertilizer being an issue.

“The programme is being restructured completely again  one more step, but that is to ensure that the gains of the initial restructuring are maintained,’’ he said.

On healthcare, he said that the authority had concluded plans to build a world class hospital in Abuja, as part of its plans to strengthen Nigeria’s health care delivery system.

According to him, the authority is also developing 20 various health projects in the areas of cancer, radiology and diagnostics across the country to revamp Nigeria’s health sector.

Orji said the NSIA had rebuilt the Cancer Centre at Lagos  University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and built two world class diagnostic and radiology centres in Kano and Umuahia.



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Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State



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By Gistflash News

Sept 13, 2021

Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State on Monday advocated home-grown solutions to Africa’s food security challenges.
The governor made the call while receiving management of WACOT and a deligation from Ivory Coast on a courtesy visit in Government House, Birnin Kebbi.
Bagudu observed that the Chairman, WACOT, Alhaji Faruq Gumel, who led the delegation, had recently led other delegations including the Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria, and American Ambassador to Nigeria, among others.
“All these visits were in an effort for Nigeria to create home-grown solutions to problems that are both Nigerian and African.
“I have been here for the past six years when all these things have been taking place and if there is one person that can be credited as the engine room of all the policies that led to the achievements today is Mr Faruq Gumel.
“We have been talking about solving Nigeria’s problems, but you can’t solve Nigeria’s problems without solving West Africa’s problems and you can’t solve West Africa’s problems without solving Africa’s problems,” he explained.
The governor said Africa as a continent “is” smaller in population than two countries of the world.
Bagudu stressed that: “It is enough message for all of us that we should complement rather than compete with each other for the betterment of all.
“So, Nigerian Government under President Muhammadu Buhari has recognised that we shouldn’t have a policy for Nigeria that excludes others.
“We should have a policy for Nigeria that brings others to do the same, so that we can all do better together.
“We once had a rice festival six, seven months ago here in Kebbi and there was a delegation from Benin Republic led by the Foreign Minister and five other dignitaries, and we spoke about what we can do together to boost our domestic production, cooperate with each other so that we can do better.”
Bagudu said subsequently, when President Basoom of Niger Republic was sworn-in, he approached Nigeria with the same mission, adding that Buhari had reciprocated by responding favourably.
Earlier, the Chairman, WACOT, Alhaji Faruq Gumel, reiterated that the programmes introduced were meant to achieve Nigeria’s solution to Nigetia’s problems.
He noted with satisfaction that in the last five years, the company had been able to solve quite a few of the nation’s food security challenges, promising that the firm would continue to strive to actualise such dreams.
“What is pleasing is, as we are trying to do our own programmes locally, people outside Nigeria are watching us and taking notice of what we are doing.
“It is very pleasing when people come to commend you, to see what you have done and to seek guidance, support or advice on how to implement their own,” he noted.
On his part, Mr Yeboua Koffi, Special Adviser to Prime Minister of Ivory Coast, Moctar Chafi, said Nigeria “is blessed by God based on what I have seen in our visit.
“Nigeria is blessed with smart people coming from different tribes, religions and ethnic groups all striving to achieve a common goal of success.
“It is evident that Nigeria will become the richest nation in Africa.
“To be honest, Nigeria in its brain power should not limit itself to Nigeria, it should export its style of doing business to the rest of ECOWAS countries and perhaps call it United State of Nigeria or United States of West Africa,” he suggested.

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NASRDA harps on space technology for precision agriculture



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By Gistflash News

Sept 13, 2021

The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA)  says it is engaging space science technology to boost agricultural products for food security in the country.

Dr Rakiya Babamaaji, the Head, Natural Resources Management Division of NASRDA, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Babamaaji explained that space science technology could be deployed into agriculture through the application of Geospatial technology that involved Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System application.

She said that geospatial technology could be used to map and monitor the location of natural resources, take inventory of vegetation and for smart agriculture and water resources management among others.

She further said the Agency had in May, commenced a Space-Based Smart Agriculture for Food Security in Nigeria.

Babamaaji said that the programme was in line with government’s mandate to ensure food security and enable the country achieve Sustainable Development Goal Two, aimed at ending hunger and increasing availability of food.

“We are trying to use space technology in agriculture and we have a programme called Space Base Smart Agriculture for Food Security in Nigeria which will address food availability.

“Under the programme, there is the Crop Watch project, a platform used to monitor agricultural activities across the country using geospatial technology.

“Under this project, we are going to gather all the spatial data available with restrictions to agriculture, so that farmers can know what is happening in their farms, from the cropping to monitoring the farmland.

“The project will provide the farmers with the climate data, letting them know when to plant, when to apply fertilizer, different soil type in terms of fertility,’’ she said.

“We want to achieve this by engaging farmers on their phones, use of jingles in the radio which could possibly be transmitted in the three major languages and English to reach rural farmers.”

The official said they were working with relevant stakeholders in the country, including the China Academy of Science and China Remote Sensing Centre as technical partners towards achieving the Crop Watch project.

Babamaaji also said the programme would be addressing the Value Supply Chain, whereby challenges faced by farmers from the beginning of the farming season to harvest time would be reviewed.

“We are trying to look at the challenges that prevent them from achieving maximum production in their farming activities and we have chosen a farm in Kuje and in Nasarawa to start this assessment.’’

Babamaaji, however, decried the dearth of data, funding to support the project and lack of awareness among farmers on the importance of space technology to farming.

She recalled that the management of the agency has been advocating for new and advanced satellites that would aid provision of data and help to plan better towards enhanced precision agriculture.

“Most of the farmers don’t know the importance of using satellite or geospatial technology in agriculture, so there is need for us to create more awareness on that.’’

She said that the agency was taking seriously the deployment of space science technology in other sectors to advance good governance and the socio-economic development of the nation.



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VON D-G urges South-East to embrace FG’s Farm Estate Project



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By Gistflash News

Sept 12, 2021

The Director-General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, has urged the people of South-East, especially Enugu State communities, to embrace the Federal Government’s ongoing nationwide Integrated Farm Estate Project.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Federal Government recently announced that it would establish Integrated Farm Estates across the 109 senatorial districts of the country.

However, the government’s plan had been faced with mixed feelings, as some people wrongly feel it is an indirect way of reintroducing the controversial Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) project.

Okechukwu, on Sunday, urged the people of the zone and communities in Enugu State in particular to participate fully in the project as it would be community-based and managed by the communities themselves.

He said that the Federal Government’s programme, meant for the 109 Senatorial districts in the country, was a presidential mandate to close bandits’ market, provide employment and food security.

He explained that the appeal had become necessary “because our people are embarrassingly missing billions of naira budgets from the Anchor Borrowers Programme, one of the key projects in the Buhari’s Agrarian Revolution Value Chain”.

The VON boss said: “One with a progressive mind should subscribe to this people-oriented and laudable back-to-land project.

“It is clearly community-based aimed at generating mass employment, as the creation of employment is the best way to close banditry, kidnappings and terrorism in our land. For an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”.

Okechukwu said that it was regrettable that some people’s past-time has become stock-pilling hatred against the central government as if President Muhammadu Buhari was going to preside over Nigeria for life.

“We should not gloss over the truism that the central government remains the only common shelter, which shelters us all.

“In no distant future, Nigeria will take her destined status as the giant of Africa. Therefore, it is not pragmatic to cut our nose to spite Buhari’s face,” he said.

According to him, South-Easterner should not reject humanitarian projects which ignite employment, close bandits’ market, reduce poverty and provide food security all because of sentiments.

Okechukwu further said that he was happy that the Executive Secretary of the National Land Development Authority (NALDA), Prince Paul Ikonne, a South-Easterner had clarified the concept of the programme.

According to him, the true position is that the national integrated farm estate is designed to accommodate the youth from that community in order to engage them in the entire agricultural value chain.

“And it depends on what the community is interested in going into, some states are getting into poultry like in the north, in the south like Abia they’re doing fishery and rabbit rearing.

“In Oyo, the people are into rabbit rearing and crop farming and in Ekiti they are opting for crop farming.

“It is not another or anything that has to do with Rural Grazing Area (RUGA); what we have is poultry, fishery, piggery and any farming model of the choice of the community,“ he said.



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