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Agriculture

Rice Import in record low

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The volume of rice importation into Nigeria (in metric tonnes) has declined drastically in 2018, judging by figures obtained from various official sources.
Indeed, figures obtained from India and Thailand, which are dominant rice exporters to Nigeria indicate that as at September, the latter had so far exported about 5,161 metric tonnes of rice to Nigeria, while the former sold only a paltry 426 tons as at July 2018.
Attributing the reduction to concerted effort by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Director, Corporate Communications at the CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor while exchanging views with reporters, also confirmed that the bank had not allocated any foreign exchange for the importation of rice this year.
According to Mr. Okorafor, the figures being bandied in certain quarters were based on unrealistic assumptions such as satellite mapping of farms, expected demand by politicians for election campaigns as well as expected losses from flooding, all of which led to unauthentic conclusions that the country had imported or could import 400,000 more metric tons.
The spokesman for the CBN said that the combined figure of 5, 587 tons of rice imports from India and Thailand may have been rice imported on a not-valid-for-forex basis.
Meanwhile, trade figures for the second quarter of 2018 received from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that total imports value was N2,106.7 billion; -16.3 percent lower than Q1, 2018 (N2518.26 billion) and – 19.9 percent lower than Q1, 2017 (N2,631.65 billion). The report on the Bureau’s site showed that the value of imported agricultural goods in the second quarter of 2018 (N224.52 billion) increased by 21.7 percent from Q1, 2018 (N184.49 billion) and lower by -3.14 percent from Q2, 2017 (N231.80 billion).

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Agriculture

Nigeria to benefit from AfDB’s $120m agric support cash

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Nigeria is among African countries that would benefit from a $120 million African Development Bank (AfDB) Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) project.

AfDB President, Akinwunmi Adesina

TAAT Coordinator,  Krishan Bheenick made this known during a Capacity Development and Technology Outreach programme organised by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in partnership with the AfDB, TAAT yesterday in Abuja.

He said the seed fund which will be made available in tranches of $40, 000, is meant to support 40, 000 farmers in Africa including Nigeria’s seven major agricultural commodities listed to benefit in the intervention.

According to him, AfDB is planning to mobilise a total of $800 million to implement the project across the three years of execution.

Speaking on the importance of the train-the-trainers workshop, Bheenick said attention should not really be about the fund, but the expected impact it would make on the grassroots farmers across the value chain.

He said: “It is $120 million in total. It’s in three ways of funding of $40 million each time. The current span of the project is between 2018 and 2021, so it’s about four years for the seed money for investment. The bank itself is, first of all, expecting the countries to invest money either they get it through a grant or loan and also other donors and international agencies can join the programme.

“One other figure that has been mentioned is that across the continent, we are expected to reach 40 million farmers. In terms of the fund, we are trying to mobilise for the implementation of the project is around $800 million. But the issue is that it is not so much how much money but how effective because if we are able to convince the countries that these are worth investing in, that’s when they will invest. The communities also need to invest their own time, efforts in terms of mobilisation.”

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Agriculture

CBN empowers 850,000 farmers

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Over 850,000 small holder farmers have been integrated into the mainstream financial system through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said.

Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele

The apex bank governor, in a speech delivered at Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) 10th year anniversary in Lagos yesterday, with the theme, “The Business Case for Financial Inclusion,” said this was in line with the central bank’s financial inclusion strategy.

Emefiele was represented at the event by the Deputy Director, Development Finance Department, CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi.

According to him, the capital requirement for unit microfinance banks (MFBs) have been increased to N100 million, State MFBs, N1 billion and National MFBs N5 billion respectively.

This, he said was with a view to positioning them to deliver sustainable micro finance services.

“We will also reinforce our supervision and regulation of financial institutions to ensure delivery of affordable and sustainable services to Nigerians. I want to reassure you that we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring a credible, reliable and effective payments system as well as a stable and sound financial system, in view of their strategic significance for financial inclusion. “We are poised as a bank to ensure that we reach the target of 20 per cent exclusion rate by 2020. This will be supported by massive agent roll out under the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility, implementation of the approved national identity management framework as well as the micro-insurance and micro-pension services, collective investment schemes and extensive collaborative programmes with government and development partners, amongst others,” he added.

He reiterated that much needed to be done, if the nation would achieve its target of 20 per cent exclusion rate by 2020.

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Agriculture

Afe Babalola wants govt to boost agriculture

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The Founder/Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) in Ekiti State, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), has urged governments at all levels to invest more in agriculture to create jobs.

Afe Babalola (SAN)

Babalola said Nigeria can overcome poverty, hunger and unemployment if governments invest in agriculture, which he said holds a better promise than white collar jobs.

He warned that Nigeria could be listed as a beggarly nation if government policies are not favourable to the Agricultural sector.

The eminent lawyer spoke at the weekend at the grand finale of this year’s Afe Babalola Agricultural Expo (ABA-EX) on ABUAD campus in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.

Babalola noted that Nigeria is bedevilled by “grinding poverty, spiralling unemployment and insecurity” because of the abandonment of agriculture.

The eminent lawyer said he was disturbed by the rate youths to embrace commercial motorcycling instead of farming.

He said: “The unwholesome situation has suddenly and sadly made Ekiti State the headquarters of Okada riders.”

Babalola suggested that agriculture is made attractive to youths so that the sector would give them fulfilment.

According to him, organising the exhibition every year is his contribution to identifying with farmers.

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Agriculture

Flood ravages rice farms in Sokoto

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Rice farmers in Sokoto State have lost an estimated 61,197.5 tonnes of rice valued at N27.5 billion due to flood. Alhaji Ibrahim Salihu, the state Chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) stated this on Thursday when the association visited some of the affected farms.

Salihu also noted that the flood-affected 19,000 rice farmers across the 23 local government areas of the state.

He said: “Based on the estimates, the cultivated farms’ yields lost to floods are 61,197.5 tonnes because farms were submerged by rainwater and crops destroyed before harvest.

“Yields lost can be quantified to be 3,059,875 bags, while if converted to money each bag of 100kg is N9,000 at an open market, therefore, at least about N27,538,879, 000 was lost.”

Noting that the farmers had reached out to the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Company (NAIC) for remedy, he appealed to the Federal Government to come to the aid of the affected farmers.

Officials of Central Bank of Nigeria, Unity Bank, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, NAIC and RIFAN National President, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo were part of the inspection team, which visited Goronyo Dam, Takakume, Falaliya, Lakoba and Wurno Rice Farms, among other affected areas.

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