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Experts harp on organic farming to promote food safety

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The Abundance of Hope Initiative, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) on Monday in Abuja, stressed the need for farmers to engage in organic farming crucial in ensuring food safety in the country.

The Executive Director of the organisation, Mr Taiye Sasona, said this at an advocacy programme to commemorate the 2021 World Food Safety Day and sensitise youths to understand the importance of food safety.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World Food Safety Day celebrated every June 7, aims to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks.

The 2021 edition is with the theme `Safe Food Today for a Healthy Tomorrow’.

Sasona stressed that production and consumption of safe food had immediate and long term benefits for people, the planet and the economy.

According to him, recognising the systematic connections between the health of people, animals, planets, the environment and the economy will help us meet the needs of the future.

“Before now, most youths don’t understand what we mean by food safety, so we are now saying that the food that we consume starts from how you produce it to how it gets to the table.

“This is because organic commodities are of less chemical components.

“This tries to recognise the global burden of foodborne diseases, which affect individuals of all ages, in particular children under five and persons living in low-income countries,’’ Sasona said.

He emphasised that food safety was a shared responsibility between governments, producers and consumers.

“Everyone has a role to play from farm to table to ensure the food we consume is safe and healthy,’’ Sasona said.

He said “One of the most common illnesses that result from the consumption of contaminated food is the diarrhoeal disease which result to 550 million illnesses and causes 230,000 deaths every year according to Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

Keynote speaker at the event, Mr Opialu Opialu, said that the problem of food safety started from the generation of fertilizers and other chemicals `which we thought was a faster means of getting good agricultural yields’.

According to him, the chemical residues that enhance crop growth gave rise to food poison which is not good for the body.

“The way to achieve food safety is to go back to the kind of agriculture which the people of old practiced that is without the use of chemical fertilizers.

“The essence of food safety day is to ensure that we are protected by what we eat and this is everyone’s business because we all are involved in the process that leads to the safety and unsafety of food.

“The reason why we insist on organic agriculture is because the application of non-chemicals enhance the soil unlike chemicals that can cause degradation in the soil.

Mrs Agnes Olorunmotito, an agric expert, expressed worry that most of the foods consumed in Nigeria were chemically produced.

While giving examples of people ripening fruits such as bananas, mangos, plantains with chemicals, she cautioned that the practice was destructive to human health.

Olorunmotito pointed out that some of the benefits of organic farming included building the organic system, natural and better taste which stems from the well balanced and nourished soil.

She added that organic farming prioritises quality over quantity, conserves agricultural diversities and improves vitamins and nutrient of the body.

On her part, Patience Braimoh, also an expert, said that collaboration was needed globally, regionally and locally across sectors within the government and across borders to combat outbreaks of foodborne diseases and ensure safe foods globally.

“Safe food is critical not only to better health and food security, but also for livelihoods, economic development, trade and the international reputation of every country,’’ Braimoh said.

She emphasised that foodborne disease impedes socio-economic development by straining healthcare systems.

“A zero hunger world can only be achieved if the food consumed is safe.

“This world food safety day and everyday, let’s all decide and act to make sure food safety is everyone’s business,’’ she said. (NAN)

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Business & Economy

Tinubu To Present 2024 Supplementary Budget To NASS

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President Bola Tinubu Presenting 2024 Budget Proposal to the Joint Session of National Assembly
President Bola Tinubu Presenting 2024 Budget Proposal to the Joint Session of National Assembly
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President Bola Tinubu will soon present the 2024 Supplementary Budget to the National Assembly (NASS).

“I submitted the last budget to you,” the President said when he addressed a joint sitting of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

“You expeditiously passed it. We are walking the talk. I will soon bring the Year 2024 (Supplementary) Appropriation Bill. That is just for your information,” the President said in his terse speech at the joint sitting to mark the Silver Jubilee Of Nigeria’s 4th Republic.

In his response, Senate President Godswill Akpabio, said, “Thank you, Mr President, we will be expecting the Supplementary Appropriation Bill of 2024 as soon as possible.”

Also, at the joint sitting which coincided with the first anniversary of the Tinubu administration, the President confirmed ‘Nigeria, we hail thee’ as the “latest national anthem”.

Tinubu said, “You sang out the latest national anthem, ‘Nigeria, we hail thee’. This is our diversity, representing all characters and how we blend to be brothers and sisters.”

The President pleaded with both the Senate and the House of Representatives to continue to collaborate and work together with the administration to build the country on the path of sustained progress and development.

“We have no other choice; it is our nation. No other institution or personality will help us unless we do it ourselves. No amount of aid from foreign countries or any other nation (will fix us), they take care of themselves first. Let us work together as we are doing to build our nation, not only for us but for generations unborn,” he said.

 

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We Have No Magic Wand, Tackling Inflation Will Take Time — Cardoso

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Yemi Cardoso,CBN Governor
Yemi Cardoso,CBN Governor
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The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso has urged the citizens to be patient over the fight against current inflation and hike in food items in the country.

Cardoso disclosed this while briefing journalists at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, meeting in Abuja.

The CBN governor mentioned that there was no magic needed to solve inflation in Nigeria but rather patience.

Also, Cardoso noted that despite pressure from food inflation, the general inflation rate was “moderating”, pointing out that “the tools the Central Bank is using are working”.

He stated, “I have several times and I will say again, there is no magic wand. These are things that need to take their time.

“I am pleased and confident that we are beginning to get some relief and in another couple of months we will see the more positive outcomes from the Central Bank have been doing.”

He added, “The committee thus reiterated several challenges confronting the effective moderation of food inflation to include rising costs of transportation of farm produce, infrastructure- related constraints along the line of distribution network, security challenges in some food producing areas, and exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices for imported food items.

“The MPC urged that more be done to address the security of farming communities to guarantee improved food production in these areas.

“Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this to seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply in a freely functioning market system.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria has also blamed the recent volatility of the country’s foreign exchange market on seasonal demand for dollars.

“Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this to seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply in a freely functioning market system,” a communique issued by the committee on Tuesday stated.

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Port Harcourt Refinery Begins Full Operations Next Month

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Port Harcourt Refinery
Port Harcourt Refinery
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The 210,000-barrel-per-day Port Harcourt refinery is expected to commence operations by the end of July, following multiple delays.

National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, revealed this new timeline on Monday. He noted that the refinery’s operation would boost economic activities, reduce petroleum product prices, and ensure an adequate supply.

In December last year, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, announced the mechanical completion and flare start-off of the Port Harcourt refinery, the largest in the region.

The refinery consists of two units: an older plant with a 60,000-barrel-per-day capacity and a newer plant with a 150,000-barrel-per-day capacity. The refinery was shut down in March 2019 for the first phase of repairs after the government enlisted Italy’s Maire Tecnimont as a technical adviser and appointed oil major Eni as a technical adviser.

On March 15, 2024, NNPC Limited’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, announced that the Port Harcourt refinery would begin operations in about two weeks. He made this statement during a press briefing following his appearance before the Senate Ad hoc committee investigating the various turnaround maintenance projects of the country’s refineries.

“We achieved mechanical completion in December,” Kyari stated. “We now have crude oil stocked in the refinery and are conducting regulatory compliance tests. The Port Harcourt refinery will start within two weeks.”

However, two months later, the refinery had yet to commence operations.

In an interview, IPMAN’s Ukadike emphasized that the work done on the refinery represented a complete overhaul rather than mere rehabilitation. He assured that every effort was being made to meet the July deadline.

Ukadike said, “When we visited, the MD informed us that the refinery was nearly ready and would start production by the end of July. The overhaul is extensive, with all the armoured cables replaced and everything almost brand new. The maintenance turnaround is massive, with work being done day and night. All hands are on deck to meet the target. By the end of July, the refinery should be operational.”

When asked about the government’s previous unfulfilled promises to restart the refinery, Ukadike acknowledged the delays but noted that no reasons were given for missing the last deadline in April

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