P.M. NEWS Nigeria » Agriculture http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com First with Nigeria News - Nigerian leading evening Newspaper - Sun, 24 May 2015 06:37:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 I’ll focus on agriculture, mining, not crude oil – Buhari http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/10/ill-focus-on-agriculture-mining-not-crude-oil-buhari/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/10/ill-focus-on-agriculture-mining-not-crude-oil-buhari/#comments Sun, 10 May 2015 19:30:43 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=238994 General Muhammadu Buhari

General Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s president-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, on Sunday in Abuja said he would shift attention from oil to agricultural and mining sectors to create jobs.

Buhari said this while receiving Northern Elders led by Nigeria’s permanent representative at the United Nations, Alhaji Maitama Sule, visited him.

He said he would address the problem of unemployment as it was one of the biggest challenges facing the nation.

“The biggest message is to try and persuade the people that it is not possible to change the state of affairs now. It took 16 years and those 16 years, most of you know it better than myself, Nigeria earned revenue more than what it earned from 1914 till then.

“In the economy, we have to quickly turn to agriculture and mining because that is where you can do the quickest work and earn results. In other areas, you need to study them and dust all the books and studies and get people, experienced people, committed people, technocrats to come and help the government.

“They need to help the government to identify priorities so that with what is available to us, we can quickly make our people realise their hope for the government they have chosen,” he said.

The president-elect said that for his administration to enjoy relative peace, security, job creation and put infrastructural facilities in place, the power‎ sector was paramount.

Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Sule, urged Buhari to be just and fair to everyone irrespective of tribe, colour or religion.

“Sir, it is easy; I know it was easy when you were a military leader and what made it easy was justice.

“With justice, you can rule Nigeria well. Justice is the key; irrespective of tribe, religion and race, justice must be done to whosoever deserves it.

“Power can remain in the hands of an infidel if he is just and fair but it will not remain in the hands of a believer if he is unfair and unjust,” he said.

Sule also said injustice was the fundamental cause of crisis all over the world and that the only solution to avert crisis was justice. “The world itself can never be governed by force or by fear nor by power; in the end, what governs is the mind, what conquers is the spirit and what governs the mind and spirit are justice and fair play.

“I have always known you to be a man of justice and I ask you to please continue, don’t change or compromise justice for anything.

“Mr president-elect sir, we know what we have gone through.

“I will ask you not to discriminate against any‎ part of Nigeria but I’ll urge you to do justice to all part of Nigeria, justice that will bring about peace and stability, that will lead to the development of Nigeria.

“I know you believe that one day you will stand before God to give account of everything you have done here on earth.

“I will rather prefer that you disappoint me than to disappoint God, your creator,” he stated.

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Ban wheat importation now, Association tells FG http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/10/ban-wheat-importation-now-association-tells-fg/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/10/ban-wheat-importation-now-association-tells-fg/#comments Sun, 10 May 2015 10:47:00 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=238942 President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan

The Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN) in Kano State has called on the incoming administration to ban the importation of wheat in the country.

The state Chairman and Deputy National President of WFAN, Mr Faruk Rabi’u, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano on Sunday.

Rabi’u said the call was necessary in view of the amount of money the Federal Government was spending on the importation of the commodity annually.

“The Federal Government is spending over one trillion naira on the importation of wheat.

“The government can use less than one quarter of the money to support wheat farmers and boost the production of the commodity in the country,” he said.

He said that the ban on the importation of wheat was necessary if the government was serious on tackling the unemployment challenges, especially among the rural dwellers in the country.

He stressed the need for the government to assist the association with combine harvesters in addition to directing companies to purchase surplus of the commodity from farmers.

“Our major challenges are lack of combine harvesters and ready market. Once these problems are solved, we can feed West Africa countries with the commodity,” he said.

He also called on the Federal Government to increase the number of inputs being given to farmers to enable more farmers embrace wheat production not only in the state but across the country.

“More inputs should be provided to our members to encourage them to go into wheat production,” he added.

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N100,000 loan not enough, farmers tell govt http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/09/n100000-loan-not-enough-farmers-tell-govt/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/09/n100000-loan-not-enough-farmers-tell-govt/#comments Sat, 09 May 2015 15:41:41 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=238857 Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State

Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State

All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) Kogi chapter, on Saturday said the N100, 000 loan grant to farmers by the state government was grossly inadequate.

AFAN Secretary in the state, Mr Ademu Halidu, told NAN in Lokoja that the amount was too small for any farmer to work with.

“It is most unfortunate that at this present time, farmers would be given a token sum of N100, 000 each as loan. The amount is too small for any farmer to work with.

“What about the stress and the rigour the farmers passed through before they were able to access the loan.

“Apart from the smaller amount, the process undertaken by farmers before getting the loan in terms of bank registration and documentation is too cumbersome for any rural farmer.

Farmers

“Farmers are also demanded by the bank to open an account and pay a compulsory deposit of N10, 000 before accessing the fund.

“AFAN are saying that the amount is too small in this era of mechanised farming with new innovations of farm inputs, which determine the farm output products,” Halidu said.

The secretary said that the in-house crisis in the state AFAN and Cooperatives Federation of Farmers was responsible for the association’s failure to press home its demands with the state government.

He promised that the crisis would be resolved within the next two weeks and that AFAN would re-unite to present their case before the state government.

Meanwhile, Halidu had criticised the decision of the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Zacchaeus Atte, to disburse the loan directly to individual farmer without channeling it through AFAN.

NAN reports that Kogi State Government, through the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) has commenced the disbursement of N750 million worth of loan to farmers in the state.

Each farmer was expected to pay N10, 000 compulsory registration fee before accessing the N100, 000 loan.

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Agric Minister, Adesina, shuns Reps summon over rice import fraud http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/05/agric-minister-adesina-shuns-reps-summon-over-rice-import-fraud/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/05/agric-minister-adesina-shuns-reps-summon-over-rice-import-fraud/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 06:01:34 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=238428 Nigeria's Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina

Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina

The House of Representatives has threatened to sanction the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina over failure to appear before its Ad hoc Committee investigating alleged fraud in the ministry.

Specifically, the committee is probing alleged evasion of payment of rice import duties and levies by importer and investors.

The Chairman of the committee and Deputy Leader of the House, Leo Ogor, made the threat at the public hearing in Abuja on Monday to uncover fraud in importation of rice.

In his address, Ogor said, “this hearing is sequel to a resolution of the House mandating the Ad hoc Committee to investigate alleged fraud abuses, evasion of import duties by rice importers.

“The aim is to uncover fraud and expose the endemic corruption in the importation of rice with a view to stemming the tide and boost employment generation as well as strengthen the nation’s depleting foreign reserve.

“The minister has no reason not to be here because the ministry was duly served the invitation.

“I see no reason why people would be invited to a hearing that’s for the benefit of the people and will not turn up,” Ogor said of Adesina who is eyeing the presidency of African Development Bank.

He noted that: “You are a servant of the people just like we all are,” he said.

According to Ogor, what we are doing here is for the benefit of our nation’s economy; so, before the end of the hearing, we are hoping to see people from the ministry come in.

He threatened that if the ministry’s officials failed to appear before the committee, it might be forced ‘’to make some very strong pronouncement.”

NAN reports that on the administration of quota and duty payable on excess importation indicated that the minister gave certain concessions to some importers, who allegedly exceeded their quotas and did not pay liable indemnity.

The committee, therefore, questioned the powers of the minister to grant such waiver on the basis of encouraging investment and job creation.

According to it, the practice is discouraging local investors who don’t even have the capacity to utilise their allotted quota. “The minister doesn’t have the powers to allocate rice import or production quota to any company and waive duties, because the revenue involved is for the entire federation, which consists the three tiers of government.

“The minister should stop thinking that he acts for every tier of government,” Ogor stressed.

In response, Mr Anil Nair, a representative of one of the suspected duty payment evaders, told the committee that as the largest farm owner on the African continent, his company could not have grown its business by disobeying rules.

Nair, who is Head, Olam Farms Business Development, said that the company would gladly pay what is due to it as duty or levy if the government asked it to do so.

NAN reports that Olam Farms is believed to be indebted to the country to the tune of about N3.5 billion in duties.

The company insisted that there was no directive asking it to pay for exceeding its quota which came out after the importations had been done.
Nair said, “Olams farm is the single largest farm on the continent of Africa with the capacity to import 243, 747 tones of rice on 10 per cent levy and 20 per cent duty.

“If you look at all the rice value chain, we have made up to date payment of duties and levies as applicable, for which we made presentation previously.

“If we are asked to pay for the excess in importation, we will oblige and pay without any hesitation”.

Earlier, Mr Adeoye Ajade, who led a Nigeria Customs Service delegation to the hearing, told the committee that some companies defaulted and were written to on the issue after the rice policy was reviewed in July, 2014.

In a paper he presented, Ajade said that Olam’s import was over 245,000 metric tonnes, with excess quota amounting to over N3.5 billion which was its duty liability arising from that transaction.

“Given the review of the policy, rice millers tried to make false declaration of duty value by under-declaring their actual import volume.

“So, the policy review now came with dual rate of 10 per cent duty raise and 20 per cent levy,” he said.

According to him, since we did not know the quota that was going to be allocated to each miller or importer, we wrote to the Finance Ministry so we can know which company to ask for what, but we didn’t get any response.

Chairman of the committee, therefore, gave Olam Farms Thursday deadline to prepare a comprehensive document showing details of all its activities concerning the importation during the period.

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FG to privatise BOA, BOI, NCX http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/24/fg-to-privatise-boa-boi-ncx/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/24/fg-to-privatise-boa-boi-ncx/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 05:58:52 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=237264 Director General BPE, Benjamin Dikki

Director General BPE, Benjamin Dikki

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has announced its plans to commence the privatisation process of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX).

This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen on Thursday in Abuja by the bureau’s Head, Public Communications, Mr Chigbo Anichebe.

NAN recalls that the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) had in 2014, approved the privatisation of three Development Finance Institutions in the country.

According to the statement, the NCP had approved the Financial Bid Opening for BOA, BOI as well as the Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX).

“The Council has directed BPE to immediately invite the pre-qualified bidders that met the benchmark scores of 75 per cent in the initial evaluation to proceed to the Financial Bid Opening Stage.

“For the BOA, the BPE was directed to invite Banca Leonardo Consortium (Germany); Barclays Consortium (Nigeria), CPCS Consortium (Barbados) and PWC Consortium (Nigeria).

“After the Financial Bid Opening, the contract should be awarded to any of the consortia adjudged to have made the best offer based on quality and cost selection guidelines of the World Bank.”

It also stated that the BPE was directed to invite CPCS Consortium (Barbados), BDO Consortium (UK) and Barclays (South Africa) that emerged pre-qualified bidders for the BOI.

For the NCX, Banca Leonardo Consortium (Germany), United Capital Consortium (Nigeria), CPCS Transcom Consortium (Barbados) and BGL Consortium (Nigeria) have been shortlisted to participate in its Financial Bid Opening.

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Buhari lobbies for Adesina as AfDB President http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/21/buhari-lobbies-for-adesina-as-afdb-president/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/21/buhari-lobbies-for-adesina-as-afdb-president/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 22:04:23 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=237010 Ayorinde Oluokun

Nigeria's Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina

Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina

General Muhammadu Buhari, the president-elect of Nigeria, has requested the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to support the candidacy of Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina as the next president of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

General Buhari has communicated his backing of Dr. Adesina’s candidacy to the Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama, who is the current chairperson of the ECOWAS.

In a statement released in Abuja on Tuesday, General Buhari said that his support of Dr. Adesina’s candidacy was not just because he was Nigerian.

“Dr. Adesina has a proven track record in a career that predates his position as Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development,” General Buhari said.

He added that Dr. Adesina has years of experience working in Francophone and Anglophone countries, and a passion to help eradicate poverty in Africa by reducing unemployment and inequality among African youth.

He noted that Dr. Adesina is also an agricultural development expert with 24 years of experience in developing and managing successful agricultural programmes across Africa.

Until his appointment as the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2011, he was the Vice President, Policy and Partnerships Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Additionally, he has held senior leadership positions in a number of agricultural institutions in the world.

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18 Nigerian States, 322 Poultry Farms, Affected By Bird Flu http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/23/18-nigerian-states-322-poultry-farms-affected-by-bird-flu/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/23/18-nigerian-states-322-poultry-farms-affected-by-bird-flu/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 22:24:44 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=234030 Simon Ateba/Ibadan

Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina

Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina

A total of 18 states and 322 poultry farms have been affected by the current Avian Influenza outbreak in Nigeria, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, said on Monday.

The Minister said over 1.1 million birds have also been depopulated nationwide while 140 farmers have been paid a compensation worth over N600 million.

Adesina disclosed that at least 49 percent of infections occurred in 21 Local Government Areas of Kano State in northern Nigeria.

The Minister delivered an address at a workshop in Ibadan, Oyo State, for poultry industry officials. The workshop is sponsored by the United States Agency For International Development (USAID).

A total of 160 participants from the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Health and the poultry sector are participating in the training that would end on Tuesday.

The focus of the workshop is on how to control avian influenza. Last week, a similar workshop also sponsored by USAID took place in Kano for northern based authorities in the sector.

Adesina said the government has continued to monitor the progress of the disease through the ongoing comprehensive disease surveillance.

“And our analysis indicates that the absolute number of positive cases from the laboratory is on the decrease,” he said.

Despite the progress, the Minister said, the disease remains active in Oyo, Plateau, Bauchi and Kaduna States.

“We are strategising and focusing on the states where there are active cases in order to contain the spread of the disease,” the Minister said in remarks read by a representative at the workshop.

Also speaking at the workshop, the United States Consul-General in Lagos, Jeffrey Hawkins, said bird flu is a serious threat to the economy and human health and warned Nigerians not to eat raw chickens or eggs at the moment until the disease is fully contained.

“I do not know if any of you eat raw chickens or eggs. If you do, please do not do it now,” Hawkins said, adding that “with thorough cooking, those who eat chicken and eggs can be safe from the virus.”

He said each participant trained represents a ripple effect of knowledge and power to stop the disease.

Bird flu is a viral disease that largely infects birds, but rarely humans. In 2007, there was one human case in Nigeria. The current outbreak has not affected any human.

Since 2006, the U.S. Government, through USAID, the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has contributed approximately $1,750,000 in response to bird flu outbreak in Nigeria, USAID said.

In addition, USAID contributes $473 million a year to improve health and education, create jobs and improve public administration in Nigeria.

USAID also has a humanitarian programme, providing emergency response to Nigeria’s northeast.

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Sambo inaugurates N100b irrigation project http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/21/sambo-inaugurates-n100b-irrigation-project/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/21/sambo-inaugurates-n100b-irrigation-project/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 23:04:57 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=233794 In the file: Vice President Namadi Sambo inaugurates the newly renovated complex of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) in Abuja

In the file: Vice President Namadi Sambo inaugurates the newly renovated complex of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) in Abuja

Vice President Namadi Sambo on Friday inaugarated the N100 billion Gurara irrigation project.

Speaking at the occassion Sambo said the project would boost industrial activities and create jobs in the state.

He said the project would provide 600 hectares of land for irrigation which would boost the economy of the people in the area and the nation.

He said the project would also provide 30 megawatts of electricity to the state which would include a substation and 120 kilometre transmission.

Sambo said the power boost was expected to ginger more economjc activities in the area and assist in increased production in the industries.

He said he project was part of President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda aimed at improving the quality of life of the citizenry.

He urged the communities to make the maximum use of the facilities to improve their lives.

Also speaking at the ceremony Kaduna state Governor, Alhaji Muktar Yero, thanked the federal government for completing the project adding that it would bring prosperity not only to the immediate community but the nation at large.

He said the people of the state would continue to support the President and his team.

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Nigeria gains N777bn from agric interventions http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/05/nigeria-gains-n777bn-from-agric-interventions/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/05/nigeria-gains-n777bn-from-agric-interventions/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:37:24 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=232204 Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina

Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina

The Minister of Agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina, said Nigeria gained N777 billion as income from various intervention programmes in the agricultural sector in 2014.

Adesina made this known on Thursday in Abuja while briefing members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture on the performance of the ministry’s budget in 2014.

He said the money went to the rural economy of the nation as many local farmers benefitted from the interventions and were currently performing well in their farms.

The minister, who also defended the ministry’s 2015 budget before the committee, announced that a crop insurance for farmers in the country.

He said that no fewer than five million farmers would benefit from the programme, explaining that it was intended to build the confidence of farmers and encourage more people to farm.

“The main economic value of all the interventions that were done on rice, maize, sorghum, wheat, soy beans, cassava and others added N777 billion worth of income back into our rural economy.

“This has helped to create significant amount of wealth for our farmers in the country.

“As you know, we added about 21 million metric tonnes of food to the domestic food supply and that goes all over from rice to maize, cassava, sorghum, and to soy beans.

“All of that has added an average of N777 billion of revenue back into the economy; that is money going back into the hands of farmers and communities,’’ he said.

“If you go into many parts of Nigeria today, particularly if you go into the north, and particularly for rice farmers, for example, they will tell you that those that actually pay first to buy tickets to go to Mecca are rice farmers.

“That tells you how much things have changed for them; we have been able to create significant amount of wealth across the country from agriculture,” he added.

Adesina disclosed that the agriculture sector witnessed a revolution in maize in 2014 with 14.9 million metric tonnes production from nine million metric tonnes recorded in 2009.

He said that wheat industry witnessed a revolution with new varieties that yielded an average of six tonnes per hectare of land with 240,000 metric tonnes produced in 2014 “on a 75,000-hectare”.

He said that the ministry had also liberalized the insurance market and opened it up for private sector companies to invest in insuring farmers, adding that the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) had been completely revamped.

“NAIC is now offering a new product which is called ’Planting with Peace’ so that our farmers will have access to crop insurance.

“We are hoping to reach about five million farmers by this year and then we can scale it up; it is a very important issue for us,” he said.

Adesina said the milestone recorded in the sector was responsible for reducing the food import bill from N3.3 trillion in 2011 to N634 billion in 2014.

This, he said, was responsible for the stable prices of food in the country in spite of the devaluation of the Naira and the fall in oil prices.

He said that the ministry utilized 100 per cent of the money released to it in 2014 and planned to make judicious use of its proposed N12.82 billion allocation for 2015.

In his remark, the Chairman of the committee, Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP-Taraba South), said that the committee was satisfied with the budget implementation of the ministry.

He, however, deplored the level of funding from the Ministry of Finance to the ministry and called for more funding to it.

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FG begins rehabilitation of Wharf, Apapa Road http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/25/fg-begins-rehabilitation-of-wharf-apapa-road/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/25/fg-begins-rehabilitation-of-wharf-apapa-road/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:27:42 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=231254 Godwin Eke, Federal Controller of Works

Godwin Eke, Federal Controller of Works

The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Godwin Eke, said on Wednesday that remedial work was being carried out on Wharf Road in Apapa to reduce the rate of accident.

Eke told NAN in Lagos that the road was being rehabilitated as part of ongoing emergency repair of roads in Apapa.

“We received reports that trucks have been falling there. We now decided to do something remedial, something temporary to reduce the rate of accident there.

“That is part of our plan for the permanent works on Apapa-Tin Can Road.

“It is included in our quantities; there is no contravention; it is part of the emergency repairs that we are carrying out.

“We are using what we call ripraps that is those big stones, those depressed sections, we put the ripraps there, then we put stone base to level it.

“We have done Creek Road, we have done part of that Wharf Road, we have done Liverpool round about, we have done up to Tin Can, we have done Coconut Bridge, we have done even from Beach land to Tin Can.

“We have also done from Cele to Ilasa, also towards Sango Otta, we have repaired Ile Epo and environs.”

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Boko Haram attacks down fish industry in NE Nigeria http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/23/boko-haram-attacks-down-fish-industry-in-ne-nigeria/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/23/boko-haram-attacks-down-fish-industry-in-ne-nigeria/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 11:06:21 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=230943 Deserted: Residents that have survived Boko Haram onslaught have left their homes and occupation

Deserted: Residents that have survived Boko Haram onslaught have left their homes and occupation

The raging Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria has hit the region’s fishing industry, causing shortages and driving up prices, union leaders say.

The major city of Maiduguri has been particularly affected, as the authorities in neighbouring Niger have detained huge consignments of smoked fish on security grounds.

For over a week, more than 200 vehicles loaded with the fish and destined for the capital of Borno state have been held outside the Nigerien border town of Diffa, pending searches.

The head of the fishermen’s union in Borno, Abubakar Gamandi, said the city and the wider northern region was now facing an “unprecedented shortage” of fish.

“The fish supply to Maiduguri has been disrupted and prices have soared,” he added.

A carton of smoked fish in the city now sells for 15,000 naira (‎$79, 65 euros) against 9,000 naira previously.

“We have no problem with the consignments being screened but for 10 days now none of these vehicles has been searched, they are just kept there,” Gamandi said.

The vehicles are carrying fish worth 1.12 billion naira (five million euros, $5.6 million), which traders in the beleaguered city bought by pooling their depleted capital.

“Our traders have suffered so much financial setback as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency, and if they lose these consignments which are their lifeline the economic effect will be catastrophic,” Gamandi said.

An official of the drivers’ union in Diffa confirmed that more than 200 vehicles were lying outside the city.

“It is only the vehicles with the fish that are being detained, but passenger vehicles are allowed passage after screening,” the official said, asking not to be named.

– Supply route cut off –

Diffa has in recent weeks been hit by a spate of suicide bombings and cross-border raids by Boko Haram in response to Niger’s decision to deploy troops against the militants.

The government in Niamey earlier this month imposed a 15-day state of emergency in the Diffa region, leading to increased security.

Borno state once prided itself as a major fishing hub, sourcing produce from Lake Chad, where the borders of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon meet.

But the Boko Haram conflict, which began in 2009, has disrupted fishing on the Nigerian side of the lake, especially in the towns of Baga and Marte‎.

Boko Haram fighters captured Baga in a devastating raid on January 3, killing hundreds, if not more, and forcing thousands of others to flee, many of them fishermen.

Nigeria’s military said Saturday that troops had regained control of the town.

The years of violence — and the risk of being forcibly conscripted into the Boko Haram ranks — has forced thousands of fishermen to abandon their trade.

Many turned to importing fish from Chad and Niger, whose shores were not affected by the insurgency. But the fall of Baga cut off the traders’ supply route.

Suleiman Alagarno, a trader at Maiduguri’s Gamboru fish market, said there were fears that the consignment currently stuck in Diffa will be destroyed if it is not released.

“It is sealed in cartons and loaded in vehicles with no ventilation,” he said, adding that the risk of running out of fish in the coming days was high.

The effect of the shortage is being felt across the wider north of Nigeria.

Shehu Aliyu is a fish dealer in the ancient town of Hadejia in northern Jigawa state, 350 kilometres (220 miles) away and relies on Maiduguri for supplies.

“I came to Maiduguri to find out what the situation is because supplies to Hadejia have stalled and the demand is so high,” he said.

“Customers have been bothering me about why I no longer supply them with fish and I’m here in Maiduguri to see how I can get some fish no matter the quantity to make them happy.”

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Agric Minister, 4 other Africans for AfDB presidential race http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/20/agric-minister-4-other-africans-for-afdb-presidential-race/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/20/agric-minister-4-other-africans-for-afdb-presidential-race/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 19:10:05 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=230736 Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina

Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina

Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister, Akinwumi Adesina, and Ethiopia’s Finance Minister, Sufian Ahmed, are among the five candidates who have been shortlisted to contest the presidency of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Bank said on Friday.

The AfDB Board said the selection of the most eligible candidates to succeed President Donald Kaberuka was done by a Steering Committee of the Board of Governors at a meeting held in Abidjan on 11 February.

Cape Verdean Finance Minister, Cristina Kamara, currently Vice President of the Islamic Development Bank, Birama Sidibe and Chad’s Finance Minister, Kordjé Bedoumra have also been shortlisted for the elections slated for May 2015.

Report says Kaberuka is currently serving his second five-year term as AfDB President.

He was first elected in 2005 as the seventh President of the Bank Group since its establishment in 1963.

However, he was re-elected in May 2010 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, for a second five-year term.

Adesina has since stated his readiness to take on the job and develop Africa. “I am excited to be shortlisted for position of President, African Development Bank. I will develop every part of Africa. Africa is my home!” he wrote on Twitter.

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Helping Farmers Earn Money Through Training http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/20/helping-farmers-earn-money-through-training/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/20/helping-farmers-earn-money-through-training/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 14:35:05 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=230702 By Prince Arinze Onebunne

Inadequate regional food supplies, diminishing quality of health, and increasing environmental deterioration are the three key underlying problems affecting the future well-being of mankind. The magnitude of these problems is set to increase as the world’s population continues to grow. By 2050 it is estimated that there will be an extra 2 billion people in the world. To feed them, we will need to make farming become more efficient and sustainable. This will enable farmers produce more food while using fewer resources to safeguard the future of our food supplies.

The demand for animal products presents many development opportunities. Livestock production will become the biggest contributor to agriculture in coming decades, with consumption of animal-based foods the fastest growing sub-food category in Africa. The key challenge is determining how to intensify livestock productivity in a sustainable manner.

Nigeria has more than 5% of the grasscutters on earth. One of the major challenges is that females do not produce enough quality weaned babies, and this opens up a golden opportunity for technically based companies like us to fill this gap.

Prince Arinze with some farm produce

Prince Arinze with some farm produce

We do not only provide quality piglets, goat, snail and grasscutter breeders-we also teach farmers how to feed them with quality materials. This is because only 10-grasscutters are produced per/ female/ per year before; and because Nigerian farmers work hard-and are always willing to learn. JOVANA FARMS won her reputation by helping farmers make more money in snail, pig, goat and grasscutter production. We did it by providing our customers with good quality products, and a full set of practical, and detailed training programs. As a result, the farmers were able to produce more and heavier weaned piglets and grasscutter breeders, and many achieved 25-30 piglets/ sow/ year and 16-18 grasscutter babies/ doe/ year. This may mean little elsewhere, but it is a major step forward for an industry that only produces 18 pigs/ sow/ year. Producing good quality creep diets is not hard, but making sure they are used correctly is indeed a major challenge. Our sales team runs many hundreds of farmer meetings in the country. This can be a 2-hours training section with ten farmers in a feed store, teaching them how to make piglets, grasscutter and snail babies eat more food. This can also be a one-day seminar gathering 100 people or more talking about the world’s latest grasscutter, snail and pig production technologies. These programs have become useful events for us. As a result, through our 38 seminar venues nationwide we supply many grasscutter, snail and pig breeders to interested farmers.

I once talked to an old lady farmer in Enugu state. She said: ‘’your products and training programme help me stay profitable in this business. I have 100- grasscutters in my backyard. I treat them like my children, because they pay for my kids to go through university. They provide steady income for me. Now they are helping my grandchildren go through their education.’’

This is an opportunity for all. This is a wonderful market. Things are still happening in agriculture and the future is bright. Although new challenges appear every day. For example, the rising cost of basic raw materials like pellet, corn and soybean meal. We are not smarter than the others. We are just one of the many in the field who appreciate this wonderful opportunity. We just show up in a right time and a right place.

Our animals are always a sure bet, exceeding farmers’ expectations in terms of performance and profitability in all the farms across the country where they are being used.

The hard work, ethic and extreme dedication to quality and improvement which inspired JOVANA FARMS to begin its nationwide training programs is just what will keep it ahead of the field for many years to come.

Since we’re all concerned about food security and employment creation, I am amazed so little is known by the public about the profitability of agribusiness approaches to wealth generation and eco-system preservation. Add to the fact that everybody needs to eat meat and white-meat is one of widely used in all parts of the world so it’s nearly impossible to run out of clients or customers.  And my wonder continues….

Contact us for consultancy or attend Jovana Farms seminars nearest to you and discover the essential steps on how to breed snails, grasscutters and pigs easily and avoid costly mistakes that inexperienced farmers are prone to! Can’t attend? Order for our self-tutorial VCD & BOOK. Visit us at www.jovanafarms.com, E-mail:jovanafarms@gmail.com or Call: 080 33262 808, for more details.

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In Pictures: How Nigerian Women Lead The Way In Agriculture http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/09/in-pictures-how-nigerian-women-lead-the-way-in-agriculture/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/09/in-pictures-how-nigerian-women-lead-the-way-in-agriculture/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 16:50:56 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=229317 Story and Photos by Emmanuel Osodi/Delta

The production line is quite long but these women do so much for so long that they go home everyday, tired; and of course they age very fast due to many factors

The production line is quite long but these women do so much for so long that they go home everyday, tired; and of course they age very fast due to many factors

Much have been made of how agriculture should be the main source of income for Nigeria but very little has been done to help promote those who engage in agriculture locally.

To open the eyes of the government and stakeholders to key players in this sector, the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) recently gave a grant for a project to investigate and portray the lives of rural women in their daily pursuits in a pictorial form.

The project sought to investigate the lives of rural women farmers and their challenges in combining farm work and motherhood in Nigeria, in particular, Ondo and Delta states.

Most of these farmers happen to be rural women who shoulder the primary responsibility for food security in Nigeria, yet development agencies have devoted minimal resources to researching the impact of their agricultural policies and new techniques on the wellbeing of Nigerian women farmers.

Mrs. Philomena Achafor returning home with sacks of cassava harvested from the farm in Ekuku-Agbor town in Delta State, Nigeria. She rides her motorbike to her farm located some kilometres away and comes back home to make garri from the cassava after processing the tubers

Mrs. Philomena Achafor returning home with sacks of cassava harvested from the farm in Ekuku-Agbor town in Delta State, Nigeria. She rides her motorbike to her farm located some kilometres away and comes back home to make garri from the cassava after processing the tubers

Women make significant contribution to food production and processing, but men seem to take more of the farm decisions and control the productive resources.

But in Nigeria, women play a dominant role in agricultural production; their active participation in Nigeria’s agriculture sector is also not new.

In Ekuku-Agbor, Idumuesah and Ute Erumu town located in Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, women are mostly involved in farming business. Mrs. Christiana Onybie, 46, a farmer in Ekuku-Agbor town with seven children said since she lost her husband to malaria in 2013, she has been the only one taking care of her children with her local palm oil mill business. Another farmer, Mrs. Charity Ebuniwe, 30, said she assists her husband in the farm, like so many other women in the surrounding villages in Ekuku-Agbor town. “Most of us are farmers since there are no other jobs to do apart from farming,” she said.

Elsewhere, production of cocoa and kolanut is also on the rise, especially in Ondo state. A visit to Odigbo Local Government Area in Ore tells the story of the hardship so many women endure in their day-to-day endeavour to keep body and soul together. The processing of cocoa and kolanut for sale, export or onward transfer to urban areas for sale, involves mostly women, with only a handful of men involved.

Women farming is more than palm oil and cassava. Here, Roseline Gabriel (right) and her colleague in Ilutuntun camp Odigbo Local government area in Ondo State prepare kolanuts for sale at the big Ore market. The work is often tedious and monotonous and with very little profit

Women farming is more than palm oil and cassava. Here, Roseline Gabriel (right) and her colleague in Ilutuntun camp Odigbo Local government area in Ondo State prepare kolanuts for sale at the big Ore market. The work is often tedious and monotonous and with very little profit

Mrs. Mary David says cocoa farming in Ilutuntun camp in Odigbo Local Government Area, Ondo State, is a way of life and the business is the people’s main source of livelihood, noting that, both men and women contribute to the process.

The contribution made by rural women to agriculture and rural development in Nigeria is grossly under-appreciated in spite of the dominant role women play in the sector.

Many Nigerians are aware, though few will agree that woman work as hard as men in many of the households in rural areas in their food contribution to the economy and food security.

They therefore deserve to be given due recognition as far as decision-making process in agriculture is concerned.

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Jonathan responsible for massive corruption in agric sector – APC http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/02/jonathan-responsible-for-massive-corruption-in-agric-sector-apc/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/02/jonathan-responsible-for-massive-corruption-in-agric-sector-apc/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 07:57:19 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=228632 President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCPCO) on Sunday accused President Goodluck Jonathan of massive corruption in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, thereby, puncturing claims by the President and his administration that he reduced corruption in the sector drastically.

In a statement issued by Mallam Garba Shehu, the spokesman of APCPCO, it said: “President Jonathan has failed woefully in the agricultural sector, and all the self-praise of the administration on agriculture is simply a ruse”.

The statement noted all the promises President Jonathan made in 2010 about making Nigeria self-sufficient in rice and wheat production by 2015 has failed. “The grim reality on the ground today is that Nigeria emerged as the world’s highest importer of rice in 2015, and a whopping $11 billion is spent annually by Nigeria to import rice, wheat, sugar and fish.”

According to the statement, former acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Sarah Alade, said Nigeria as at 2014 spends $4 billion on rice importation – that is about N600 billion annually on the importation of 2.1 million metric tonnes of milled rice.

“This is after the Federal Government had approached the China Exim Bank for a loan of $1.2 billion for the financing of 100 large-scale rice processing plants with a total capacity of 2.1 million metric tonnes.

“The troubling truth today is that Nigeria is nothing close to self-sufficiency in rice production and what we have at hand is a close web of corruption where government cronies stumble over each other to get import licences for rice.

Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina: admitted to large importation of wheat

Agriculture Minister, Akinwunmi Adesina: admitted to large importation of wheat

“According to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, Nigeria’s wheat consumption as at year 2000 was about two million metric tonnes. But, by 2010, wheat importation to the country had risen to four million metric tonnes and Nigeria spends N635 billion annually on wheat importation.

“Five years into the Jonathan administration, Nigeria spends even more than we did in 2010 to import wheat; yet the government continues to brandish false achievements in the agricultural sector – a situation that is completely at variance with what President Jonathan promised Nigerians in 2010, saying that his government would make Nigeria save N635 billion annually on rice and wheat importation.”

The statement also punctured the federal government’s claims that local farmers now have unhindered access to fertiliser through the Growth Enhancement Scheme. “It is excessively labourious and technically difficult for the farmers to work through” are two bags of fertilizer throughout the entire farming season, “and government has not come out in one instance to tell Nigerians how much it receives as grants on fertiliser distribution to farmers from donor agencies.

“The government will want to give us the impression that fertiliser is being given to farmers free of charge. But we know that what subsists is a 50 per cent subsidy per bag of fertiliser. Our farmers are being shortchanged under this so-called e-wallet arrangement because of lack of transparency.

“We may be looking at another subsidy scam over fertilizer unless the Jonathan administration comes out clean to tell us how much it has received as grants over fertiliser and how it comes about the 50 per cent subsidy per bag of fertilizer.”

The statement further dismissed Jonathan’s claims of achievement in the agric sector, noting that, “throughout the periods preceding the Jonathan’s administration, the contribution of agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was at 7 per cent, while under the so-called transformation agenda of President Jonathan, agriculture’s contribution to the GDP has been consistent at 5 per cent – an all time low.

“In any case, food commodities are items Nigerians buy on a daily basis. If the Jonathan administration was sincere with the statistics it reels out on agriculture, why would the government buy pages of newspaper advertorials and TV commercials to force bitter falsehood of its achievements down the throats of Nigerians? The Jonathan administration has failed woefully in its agricultural policies and the facts are self-evident out there at those food stalls in our markets.

“In 2015, Nigerians know they spend far more to buy food than they did in 2010. That reality, in itself, is President Jonathan’s scorecard in agriculture,” the statement read.

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I’ll create more jobs through agriculture, says Jonathan http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/28/ill-create-more-jobs-through-agriculture-says-jonathan/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/28/ill-create-more-jobs-through-agriculture-says-jonathan/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 03:53:14 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=228037 President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday in Ilorin promised more investment in the agriculture sector in order to boost employment opportunities in the country.

The president made the promise on Monday at the Metropolitan Square in the Kwara capital while addressing residents of the state at a campaign rally, ahead of February’s general elections.

Jonathan assured the people of the state that his government would not disappoint them if they voted for PDP candidates in all the elections.

The president also promised to create an avenue for wealth creation, adding that young graduates would benefit from his administration’s initiatives.

The president also gave an assurance that he would work with the people of the state to create an atmosphere where they would develop their potentials without fear of intimidation.

“We don’t want a government run by intimidation; you must be able to express yourselves.

“That is the reason I signed the Freedom of Information Bill into law.

“Nigeria is not a zoological garden, Nigeria is not a forest, it is a country that its citizens must be free to express themselves,” he said.

Jonathan appealed to the people to vote massively for the PDP during the elections so as to transform the country as a whole and Kwara in particular.

In his remarks, Vice President Namadi Sambo said Jonathan was the most qualified for the post having recorded many achievements.

He said the president had completed many road projects while ensuring the establishment of 12 new universities.

Also speaking, the PDP National Chairman, Dr Adamu Muazu, said Jonathan had removed fraud in the agriculture sector as farmers now access fertiliser, chemicals and seedlings with ease.

Muazu, who presented the party’s flag to its guber candidate in the state, Sen. Simeon Ajibola, as well as his deputy, Alhaji Yinka Aluko, said only a PDP victory in the polls would transform the country.

In his remarks, Ajibola called on the people of the state to vote for the president and all PDP candidates in the elections.

He thanked the president for demonstrating love to the people of the state, saying this would be reciprocated in the presidential poll with victory.

Ajibola, however, appealed to the people of the state to collect their voter cards, saying this was the only weapon to effect change in the state.

Senate President David Mark, in his remarks, assured the president that the North Central Zone of the country would record the highest votes for him on February 14.

Mark also assured the president that the PDP would reclaim Kwara and Nasarawa States, adding that the party would check rigging.

Present at the rally were wife of the president, Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of the Vice President, Hajia Aminat Sambo and the Minister of National Planning, Dr Suleiman Abubakar.

Others included the PDP Chairman in the state, Mr Iyiola Oyedepo, Mr Dele Belgore (SAN), Chief Rex Olawoye, Mr Jani Ibrahim, Hajia Bola Sagaya, Sen. Makanjuola Ajadi and Mr Lola Ashiru.

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FG approves N250bn for SMEs, says Sambo http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/27/fg-approves-n250bn-for-smes-says-sambo/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/27/fg-approves-n250bn-for-smes-says-sambo/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 05:47:00 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=227950 Namadi Sambo

Namadi Sambo

The Federal Government has approved N250 billion for the establishment of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), Vice President Namadi Sambo, said in Jos on Monday.

Sambo, who spoke at the inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election in Plateau, said that N5 billion had been allocated to Plateau.

He challenged entrepreneurs to take advantage of the Federal Government’s gesture to explore abundant resources on the Plateau and open the path to greater industrialisation.

He said that the Federal Government had also approved N27 billion for dry season farming on the Plateau to encourage farmers to take advantage of the good weather to develop their potential.

He said that government had also set up a machinery to consistently create jobs with a target of 2 million per year.

Sambo disclosed that the rail system was back on track and explained that rail mass transits would begin in the next few days.

According to him, commuters will be transported from Jos to Port Harcourt, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, and many other cities.

The vice president urged the people to ensure massive votes for the Jonathan/Sambo, to continue to enjoy
dividends of democracy.

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Bird Flu Kills 420 Poultry Birds In Benin http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/21/bird-flu-kills-420-poultry-birds-in-benin/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/21/bird-flu-kills-420-poultry-birds-in-benin/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 19:07:38 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=227304 Jethro Ibileke/Benin

•File photo of chickens

•File photo of chickens

An outbreak of Avian Influenza Virus which causes Avian Influenza disease in birds, popularly known as Bird Flu, has reportedly killed no fewer than 420 poultry birds in Edo state.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Abdul Oroh, who announced report of cases ‎‎Bird Flu in a press statement statement on Wednesday in Benin, explained that necessary steps of quarantine and decontamination have been instituted.

“Members of the public need not panic as Edo State Government is already taking necessary steps through the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources to curtail the spread to other farms,” the statement said and advised members of the public not to buy any dead or sick birds from any source.

The statement went further to advise farmers to watch out for any high mortality in their farms and promptly report such to Veterinary Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Benin City.

The State Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Collins Aibaogun, who gave details of the outbreak of the disease, said the 420 birds were confirmed dead in a poultry farm in Benin where the outbreak occurred.

He added that the result of samples sent to the National Veterinary Institute, confirmed the existence of the virus in Benin.

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Lagos, Port Harcourt hit by bird flu http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/20/lagos-port-harcourt-hit-by-bird-flu/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/20/lagos-port-harcourt-hit-by-bird-flu/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 12:28:27 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=227083 Culled birds being carried away in a poultry

Culled birds being carried away in a poultry

Thousands of chickens have been culled in southern Nigeria after the discovery of bird flu in some poultry farms, the local health authorities said on Tuesday.

State government officials in the financial capital, Lagos, and the oil city of Port Harcourt, said they had ordered the cull to prevent the spread of the disease.

Lagos State agriculture commissioner Gbolahan Lawal said birds were found to be infected in two locations, in the south of the city during the Christmas and New Year festivities.

“The bird samples were sent to the National Veterinary Research Institute in Vom, Plateau State, and they were unfortunately found positive for the H5 strain of avian influenza,” he added.

The affected farms were quarantined and there have been no reported cases since, he said, warning poultry farmers and sellers to report any high death rates of birds.

In Port Harcourt, 435 kilometres (270 miles) to the southeast, the Rivers State government said it had killed “hundreds of birds” in a farm hit by the virus.

Agriculture commissioner Emma Chinda said the authorities received a report on January 14 that a farm may have been infected and laboratory tests later confirmed the presence of the virus.

“On the basis of that, we had to take necessary steps. Apart from quarantining the farm, we had to depopulate the birds in the farm to stop further spread,” Chinda added.

Officials said there was no indication the outbreak in Africa’s most populous country was the H5N1 strain, which has killed more than 400 people worldwide since it first appeared in 2003.

The World Organisation for Animal Health said: “The Nigerian authorities are investigating and monitoring the situation and they will report the updated information in their next follow-up report.”

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Taraba assembly approves N2bn loan for MSME development http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/20/taraba-assembly-approves-n2bn-loan-for-msme-development/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/20/taraba-assembly-approves-n2bn-loan-for-msme-development/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:51:30 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=227065 Abubakar Danladi, acting governor, Taraba State

Abubakar Danladi, acting governor, Taraba State

The Taraba House of Assembly on Tuesday approved the request by the state government to obtain a N2 billion loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the development of micro, small and medium enterprises in the state.

The approval followed a request for the loan made by the Acting Governor of the state, Alhaji Sani Danladi, to provide job opportunities to the teaming youths in the state.

At the emergency sitting on the floor of the house, the Speaker, Dr. Mark Useni, thanked the members for granting the approval and directed the Clerk of the house, Mr. Ismaila Tentason, to communicate the resolution to the executive.

Earlier, the Majority Leader, Mr. Joseph Kunini, said the loan would be accessed from the N220 billion earmarked by the CBN for development of micro, small and medium enterprises in the country.

The request was adopted by Mr Charles Maijankai, representing Karim and Mr. Daniel Tsokwa of Takum seconded it.

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