Agricultural News Digest

World Bank Pledges N135bn to Boost Agriculture in Nigeria

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, disclosed on Thursday April 18, 2012 that the World Bank had made commitment to support the nation’s agricultural sector with N135 billion in order to boost the economy. Dr. Adesina attributed the development to the outcome of the just concluded Agribusiness Investment Forum organised by the Nigerian Embassy in the US, in collaboration with the Corporate Council on Africa, with support from the World Bank and leading US corporations. The minister disclosed that the United States government had completed arrangements to invest in the nation’s agricultural sector of the economy. He explained that the World Bank, after expressing satisfaction with the agricultural transformation action plan of the country, pledged its support with N135 billion ($900 million). Of this amount, he said N75 billion would go to agriculture, while N60 billion would be expended on irrigation.

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 Obasanjo lauds IITA for developing vitamin A – enriched cassava

Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo has commended the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for successfully leading efforts in developing provitamin A cassava varieties. Obasanjo who made the commendation during a closed door meeting with Director General of IITA, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga in Abeokuta described the effort as commendable. The provitamin A cassava varieties which are the first ever biofortified crops in Nigeria, were developed by IITA with funding from HarvestPlus. The National Root Crops Research Institute was a local partner.

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 Nigeria to save $1.5bn through Pro-Vitamin A Cassava Consumption, Says IITA DG

The consumption of pro-vitamin A cassava could help Nigeria reduce economic losses in Gross Domestic Product that is estimated at about $1.5billion, says the Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga. “But more than economic savings, it will also improve the nutrition of women and children who are the most vulnerable,” says Sanginga at the public presentation of pro-vitamin A varieties by the Nigerian government in Umudike recently. Represented by the Coordinator, Cassava Enterprise Development Project, IITA, Dr. Gbassey Tarawali, Sanginga commended the Nigerian government for taking the lead in biofortification with the release of the cassava varieties to farmers. He canvassed joint efforts from partners and the private sector to ensure that the pro-vitamin A- rich varieties get to the hands of resource-poor farmers. Elsewhere in the developing countries, vitamin A deficiency remains a major bottleneck to improved nutrition with approximately 250,000 to 500,000 malnourished children going blind each year, and half of who die within a year of becoming blind.

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 US to boost Agric Commodities with $60m in Nigeria

 The United States has voted $60 million for the second phase of its USAID Maximizing Agricultural Revenue and Key Enterprises in Targeted Sites programme. The aim of the programme is to increase the output of Nigerian farmers and help them commercialize six targeted commodity groups which include rice, sorghum, cowpea, dairy, aquaculture and sesame seed. Speaking in Abuja at the end of the first phase of the programme which started in 2005, USAID Mission Director for Nigeria, Dana Mansuri, said the partnerships with some of the country’s largest agribusinesses and the use of a value chain approach is to unlock the sector’s enormous potential. She said: “Maximizing Agricultural Revenue and Key Enterprises in Targeted Sites (MARKETS) is a five-year programme designed to strengthen agriculture competiveness and food security in Nigeria.

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 FCTA Regularises 1,000 Land Titles

 The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has regularised and re-certified over 1,000 customary land titles, issued by the Area Councils. Mrs Jamila Tangaza, the Senior Special Assistant on Information Management System to the FCT Minister, made the announcement at a news conference after the FCTA Exco meeting on Monday in Abuja. Tangaza said the regularisation would enable land owners in the area councils to start developing their lands without any interruption, explaining that the process was being done through the Accelerated Area Councils Title Re-issuance Scheme (AACTRIS) initiative which was flagged off in 2011. She said that the FCTA would also approve certificate of occupancy for developers of mass housing schemes with the same process.

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Notore, Mitsubishi Sign Joint Venture for New Fertiliser Plant

Notore Chemical Industries Limited, owners of the only urea fertiliser plant in sub-Saharan Africa, weekend signed a Joint Venture agreement with Mitsubishi Corporation at Mitsubishi’s corporate headquarters in Tokyo, Japan to develop an ammonia, urea and other petrochemicals project at its existing facility at Onne, Rivers State, Nigeria. Mitsubishi Corporation is a global integrated business enterprise that develops and operates businesses across virtually every industry including industrial finance, energy, metal, machinery, chemicals, foods and environmental business. Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Notore, Mr. Onajite Okoloko, who signed the agreement with the Senior Vice-President, Division Chief Operating Officer, Commodity Chemicals Division B, Mitsubishi Corporation, Shinichi Nakayama, said the project would involve the construction of an integrated plant complex with production capacities of 1,700 metric tonnes per day of ammonia, 3,000 metric tonnes per day of urea, and 1,500 metric tonnes per day of other petrochemicals, respectively.

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