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Stakeholders urge FG to wade into onions supply blockage



By Gistflash

June 9, 2021

Stakeholders in the Agricultural sector has appealed to the Federal Government to wade into plan by the Onions Farmers Association to block supply of onions to the southern parts of the country.

The National President of Onion Producers, Mr Aliyu Umar, on May 30 said that the blockade was to avert the violence meted out on some of its members trucks carrying onions to the south.

Gunmen were alleged to have hijacked two of the union members trucks supplying onions to the south east.

Some of the stakeholders, who spoke with NAN on Wednesday, said that the decision was not in the best interest of both the producers and buyers.

The president of the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN), Mr Peter Dama, said that the situation was worrisome.

He appealed to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment as well as Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to intervene in order to save the situation.

Dama said that the decision would affect both the farmers and the consumers because of the perishable nature of onions.

The Founder of Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN), Mrs Salamatu Garba, said that the issue needed to be quickly attended to by the government to avoid unpleasant outcome for the economy.

She condemned the hijack of the trucks in the south and appealed to Nigerians not to allow few misguided elements to create problems for the majority.

“The farmers are there in the communities but the middlemen who exploit the situation may be the ones working around this propaganda from both Northern and Southern Nigeria,” Garba said.


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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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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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