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.
Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State
By Gistflash News
Sept 13, 2021
NASRDA harps on space technology for precision agriculture
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.
VON D-G urges South-East to embrace FG’s Farm Estate Project
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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