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IFAD trains 105 farmers in Enugu on COVID-19 prevention



By Gistflash

June 10, 2021

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Enugu State, on Thursday, trained 105 farmers on COVID-19 safety precautions and prevention to stem the pandemic among farmers in the state.

Participants at the train-the-trainer workshop were drawn from 20 farmer organisations within the five pilot  council areas of the IFAD Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) in the state.

The council areas included: Aninri, Enugu East, Isi-Uzo, Nkanu East and Udenu.

The IFAD State Programme Coordinator, Dr Edward Isiwu, told newsmen that the programme was meant to train the farmers on safety measures and how to identify COVID-19 symptoms, as it was clear that `COVID-19 is real’ and  it was imperative for farmers to listen, understand and observe all the information passed across to them on the preventive measures.

In a lecture, Dr Chukwuebuka Ezeagu, a medical practitioner, educated the participants on the precautionary measures such as wearing of face mask, washing of hands regularly, social distancing and avoiding large crowds.

Ezeagu, working with Abiding Grace Hospital, Nsukka, noted that the use of alcohol-based sanitiser was one of the preventive measures that everybody must observe henceforth.

“Farmers are the live wire of any nation. No nation can survive without food. Therefore, we deemed it imperative to make sure you are well informed about COVID-19 precautionary measures and symptoms,’’ he said.

Mrs Chinonso Chime, a nurse working at the hospital, advised the participants to avoid hands contact with the nose as “it is one of the ways in which the virus is being spread fast’’.

‘‘Always remember to sanitise your hands each time your hand comes in contact with your nose and also cultivate the habit of washing your hands frequently,’’ Chime said.

Mr Humphrey Ubani, the VCDP Rural Institution Gender, Youths and Mainstreaming Officer (RIGYMO) in the state, advised the participants to observe and apply the knowledge they learnt in the programme, as they return to their communities.

‘‘You are expected to share the knowledge you gathered here with your cooperative members and other farmers in your localities,’’ Ubani said.

Mr Mark Ogbonna, Apex Chairman, All Farmers’ Organisations in Aninri Local Government Area, said: ‘‘I never believed there is anything like COVID-19 but with this IFAD-VCDP awareness programme, I am convinced that COVID-19 is real’’.

“Therefore, I am going to share this information with our cooperative members, family and friends in our communities,’’ Ogbonna assured.

Mrs Amaka Ekwo, the Chairlady of Little is Much Cooperative Society in Enugu East Council Area, said she would disseminate the information in her community, especially the precautionary measures and symptoms.

The highlight of the event was the distribution of packets of face masks and cartons of 24 bottles of alcoholic-based hand sanitizers to each of the 20 farmers’ organisations, from which the participants were drawn.

The items were provided for the step-down training by the farmer organisations for their members at their various localities.


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Criminalise proliferation, use of harmful fertilisers, Agriculturist urges government



By Gistflash

June 17, 2021

Nigeria should criminalise the proliferation and use of harmful fertilisers on crops, an agriculturist, Mr Ismail Olawale, said in Lagos on Thursday.

Olawale is a Fellow of the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Service (NAERLS).

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that declaring the proliferation of harmful fertilisers as a criminal offence was one way to stop the menace.

He said regulatory bodies in charge of fertilisers must go the extra mile to address the application of harmful fertilisers owing to its danger to human health.

“There are regulatory bodies, protocols and laws that should stop the proliferation and application of fake and harmful fertiliser on crops by farmers.

“The dedication to the operationalisation of these laws is what we should question. We should also question the commitment of farmers to grow crops with less harmful products.

“To check the proliferation of harmful fertilisers and their subsequent application on crops, there should be rigorous monitoring and apprehension. People should be made to face the law.

“Proliferation of harmful fertilisers should not be viewed as a civil offence but as a criminal offence because the accumulation of these chemically-laden fertilisers is harmful to human health in long run.

“Offenders should be made to face the law when caught applying harmful fertilisers or chemicals to boost crop growth,’’ he said.

Olawale also urged farmers to desist from applying harmful fertilisers and substances on crops in their quest for extra profit.

According to him, farmers should be made to understand that applying harmful chemical/fertilisers to boost crop growth is ultimately harmful to human health.

“To address the application of harmful fertilisers on crop borders on dedication, trust and the fear of the understanding that these substances are harmful to human health.

“There are mischievous regulators, farmers, and marketers who in a bid to make extra profit allow the proliferation and application of harmful fertilisers on crops.

“Even when some farmers are made aware of the dangerous contents of some fertilisers by the manufacturers, the farmers still insist on their quest for high crop version irrespective of their contents.

“Some farmers believe so much in the philosophy of high yield without minding the consequences on the final consumers,’’ Olawale said.


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Dangote Urea Fertiliser delivers 120 trucks daily, says Group Executive Director



By Gistflash

June 13, 2021

Dangote Industries Limited says its urea fertiliser currently pushes out a minimum of 120 trucks per day across the country to meet local demands and exports.

Mr Devakumar Edwin, Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects and Portfolio Development, Dangote Industries Limited, made this known  in a statement on Sunday.

Edwin said that the fertiliser plant, which has the capacity to turn out more than 4,500 tonnes of urea daily, would conveniently meet  local demands and even produce for exports.

“We have the capacity to turn out 4,500 tonnes of urea everyday.

“This is a bulk application fertiliser that each crop in Nigeria or globally requires because of  the Nitrogen content; this is a rich fertiliser having 46 per cent nitrogen.

“The company has the capacity to meet local demand and also export to African countries.

“Currently the demand is less than one million tonnes and we alone can  produce three million tonnes; so,  we can easily meet local demand and also produce for export to other west African countries,” he said.

Edwin said that asides fertiliser production, the company was already working to support the farmers with training on application of the fertiliser and even establish laboratories across the country for proper soil examination.

“The uniqueness of this plant, apart from the fact that we are producing is the focus on farmers’ support, on training, education, development.

“We are now establishing laboratories across the country and even mobile laboratories where we can go drive around and take soil samples for proper examination.

“This is to effectively grow the agricultural outputs across the country,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Urea Fertiliser Plant was built to tap into Nigeria’s demand for fertiliser, a critical component of achieving food sufficiency for Africa’s most populous country.

The fertiliser plant is expected to manufacture  three million metric tonnes of urea per annum.

This is with a view to reducing the nation’s fertiliser imports, and generating $400 million annual foreign exchange from export to Africa countries.


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Sanwo-Olu inaugurates road linking 40 Ikorodu communities



By Gistflash

June 9, 2021

Lagos State government on Wednesday inaugurated the 6.05km Ijede dual carriageway, phase one, Itamaga-Ewu-Elepe, project in Ikorodu Local Government Area of the state.

Mrs Aramide Adeoye, Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Works and Infrastructure, said the road, which linked 40 Ikorodu communities, was completed one month ahead of schedule.

She said road the project was a demonstration of the commitment of the governor to grow the economy of the state through a robust infrastructure portfolio.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Ijede Road cuts across four LGAs/LCDAs, and it is the only major road that leads to Ijede, Gberigbe and Agura towns, as well as 37 other communities in Ikorodu.

Before its rehabilitation, the road was a single carriage way.

Sanwo-Olu said the project was delivered in 17 months instead of the 18 months planned completion date, in line with his administration’s campaign promise of quick infrastructure delivery.

The governor assured that the road would link the Gberigbe Jetty to further enhance interconnectivity and intermodal transportation within the axis, and that the government would paid compensation of N500 million for Right of Way.

He said cheques would be presented to affected religious organisations and other stakeholders.

“We will be paying almost N500 million today as compensation,” he said.

Meanwhile, the governor promised to replace the transformers in the area within two weeks to resolve the power problem in the area.

He assured that Gberigbe and Imota roads would be constructed soon, while Igbogbo Bayeku and Ahmed Tinubu roads would also be upgraded and reconstructed.

Also, Mrs Aramide Adeyoye, Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, said the overall target of the government was to use investments in infrastructure to enhance ease of doing business.

She added that it was also to address gridlock, tackle perennial flooding and attract development to the area.

“The Rehabilitated and Upgraded 6.05km Ijede Road (phase one) (Itamaga-Ewu-Elepe) project in Ikorodu LGA was to show Sanwo-Olu’s commitment to extend development across the state.

“It was also in an effort to grow the economy of Lagos through a robust infrastructure portfolio,” she said.

Similarly, Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, who represented the Speaker of the Assembly, expressed delight over the speedy completion of the project.

Also, a lawmaker representing Ikorodu Constituency 2, Mr Saka Solaja, said the road would serve four LGAs and four LCDAs.


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