International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) says it is poised to make Enugu State a hub of two major daily consumed staple crops in the country.
Dr Edward Isiwu, Enugu State Programme Coordinator of IFAD’s Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), said this during a media parley in Enugu on Saturday.
Isiwu identified the two major crops as rice and vitamin-A rich cassava, adding that other value chain addition and derivatives from the two crops would also be made known to small-holder farmers.
He said that technically, the IFAD-VCDP programme would use transfer of best agronomy and processing practices, market visibility/reach, extension services intervention and financial inclusion for farmers to achieve the target.
According to him, IFAD-VCDP will first make the state sufficient in the crops and lift thousands of small-holder farmers out of hunger and poverty through best modern agricultural practices.
“Basically, IFAD-VCDP is targetting small-holder farmers belonging to farming organisations/cooperatives (mostly women and youths), having less than five hectares of farmlands for rice and cassava production.
“We are currently in nine states of the federation and Enugu State is among three states recently added to the programme.
“In Enugu State, we have selected five pilot council areas, based on established criteria, mapped out by the designers of IFAD-VCDP programme.
“The pilot council areas, producing these two crops, included: Aninri, Isi uzo and Nkanu East (for rice production and value chain addition) and, Enugu East and Udenu (for cassava production and value chain addition).
“We introduce and provide them with best agronomy practices, climate smart agriculture and other basic farm business knowledge at the group/organisational training or workshop level.
“Then we follow them to the farms by providing matching grant support for high-yielding and weather-friendly seedlings and agro-inputs that will increase the tonnes per hectare to about an additional 2.5 tonnes of any given rice or cassava farmland.
“Before going to the farmland proper, IFAD-VCDP has organised for committed off-takers and markets for these produce so that the farmers will get value for investment in good time and ensure continuous farming,” he said.
The coordinator said that the IFAD-VCDP programme kicked-off in the state in the last quarters of 2020, adding that it had been able to engage 104 small-holder farmers in the dry season between 2020/2021 farming period, especially in rice production.
According to him, the IFAD-VCDP dry season farming recorded huge success in the state.
“The yield of the small-holder farmers, who previously got 2.1 tonnes per hectare (a hectare is about the size of a football field), ended up harvesting between 4.5 and 4.7 tonnes per hectare of farmland.
“What is more astonishing is that some of these small-holder farmers have never engaged in dry season farming for rice before in their farming history.
“So, the magic was introduction to dry weather-resilient rice seedlings as well as other dry season favourable agro-inputs to enhance the yield per hectare,” he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that IFAD-VCDP is a tripartite programme of IFAD, an organ of the United Nations, the Federal Government and participating state governments.
The programme is meant to boost modern agronomy practice and crop yield of small-holder farmers, reduce rural poverty and achieve accelerated economic growth on a sustainable basis.
Supreme Court Judgement: Senate Leader Faults Stampeding Judiciary into Partisan Politics
…Celebrates Tinubu’s victory at the Supreme Court
As the Supreme Court Thursday affirmed the election of President Bola Tinubu unanimously, the Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele warned opposition parties and their candidates against stampeding the judiciary into partisan politics through disinformation, mal-information and misinformation.
Bamidele, who chaired the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters in the ninth National Assembly, kicked against how they unduly dragged the judiciary into partisan politics in pursuit of their selfish interests at the expense of the collective interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.
He expressed these grave concerns in a statement his Directorate of Media and Public Affairs issued on Thursday in Abuja following the decision of the apex court that affirmed the election of President Tinubu.
While celebrating the victory of the president at the apex court, Bamidele condemned the undue blackmailing of the judiciary even before the petitions of the opposition parties and their candidates were decided.
He observed that the judiciary “is one of the most consistent, dependable and reliable democratic institutions that still stands for and with the oppressed in this federation. It is therefore amoral and immoral for any political actor or party to subject the judiciary to media trial rather than abiding by the rules of law.
“Judiciary has never been vilified in the recent history of this federation by petitioners who at different times benefitted tremendously from the independence and neutrality of the judiciary,” the senate leader noted with grave concern.
At the inception, Bamidele noted that the petitioners “claimed to have won the 2023 presidential elections during their separate world press conferences. But when they failed to prove their cases, they selfishly resorted to blackmailing the time-tested institutions, especially the judiciary
Beyond their campaign of calumny, he observed that the decisions of the appellate and apex courts “have clearly shown that the last elections are the most credible since the beginning of the Fourth Republic with the deployment of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, which the Independent National Electoral Commission used for the conduct of the elections.
He, therefore, commended the apex court for standing for the truth and truth alone amid ferocious, needless and relentless intimidation of judicial officers by the petitioners, who trampled upon the national interest in pursuit of their self-centric political agenda.
Now that Judiciary has concluded all the presidential election petitions in favour of President Tinubu, Bamidele warned all political actors, interests and parties “to henceforth stop playing politics with the rule of law and the integrity of the judiciary.”
He, also, warned them “against the perverse culture of stampeding the judiciary into partisan politics. As far as Nigeria is concerned, judiciary remains an unbiased arbiter wholly committed to the dispensation of justice without regard to any ethnic, economic, political, religious consideration.
“It is therefore unfair and uncalled to paint the judiciary, the only source of hope for the oppressed, black in the eyes of the whole world. This does not harm the judiciary alone, but also portray all of us, Nigerians at home and in the diaspora, bad before the eyes of the whole world. This is completely unacceptable! And it must be stopped!”
Professor Soyinka Remains A Source Of Inspiration, Says Tinubu
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has poured encomiums on Nobel Laureate and elder statesman, Prof. Wole Soyinka, on his 89th birthday, describing him as a veritable source of support, inspiration and encouragement.
Tinubu’s praises for the Laureate was contained in a statement on Thursday by his spokesman, Dele Alake.
The President, who called Professor Soyinka a brother and comrade in the struggle for the restoration and entrenchment of democracy and good governance in Nigeria, commended him for his immense contributions to the country’s development.
“Today, I celebrate Nobel Laureate, elder statesman and pro-democracy activist, Prof. Wole Soyinka, on his attainment of 89.
“Renowned playwright, poet, novelist, Professor Wole Soyinka has done a lot for Nigeria. In the literary world, he remains a giant, an Iroko. Importantly, his contributions to the struggle for the restoration and institutionalization of democracy and good governance in Nigeria are indelible.
“Together, along with other activists, we fought for democracy under the aegis of NADECO at great risks to our personal lives.
“Professor Soyinka remains a beacon and a source of inspiration and support to many of us.
“As he attains 89 today, we pray that God Almighty grant him more years and strength so he can be around to witness the new Nigeria we are building in line with our Agenda for a Renewed Hope for the country, where security, prosperity and economic development will reign supreme.”
10th Senate: NNPP Senator-elect kicks against zoning by APC
The Senator-elect from Kano South Senatorial District, Sulaiman Kawu, yesterday warned the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to repeat mistakes of the past by zoning the position of Presiding Officers of the Senate.
Kawu, who is a member of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) spoke at a press briefing in Abuja.
He described the action of the APC as an insult to opposition members-elect of the 10th National Assembly.
He urged the APC and the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to do the right thing through consultation of National Assembly members-elect and other critical stakeholders to arrive at what needs be done.
Kawu said: “In the 7th Assembly during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, you are all aware how the executive intended to stop us from exercising our constitutional right. We fought them and they tear-gassed us, at the end, the wish of the people and the constitution prevailed.
“Now there are so many challenges we face in making sure that we consolidate the gains of democracy more especially the parliament. Now the 10th Assembly is about to be inaugurated, suddenly we saw a letter directing the members of the National Assembly to abide by the decision of the National Working Committee of the APC.
“For us, as veterans in this game. For us who have suffered a lot in defending the sanctity of the National Assembly we believe it is an insult.
“The National Assembly is an organ of government. It is not an agency of the Federal Government and the role of a political party is to guide, but they can’t dictate the selection of the Presiding Officers in the National Assembly.
“The constitution is very clear that we should choose among ourselves irrespective of party. and we are very lucky this time around the opposition constitute almost 48 per cent of the total population of the Senators-elect while the majority party has 52 per cent.
“When you go to the House of Representatives, it is the opposition that has the majority even though it is a combination of the different political parties. We thought the President-elect and the APC, will learn from past mistake in the 7th Assembly when President Jonathan intended to dictate to us where we would go in the selection of Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“We said no. We must follow the rule of law and the Constitution and we must be guided by the rules of the House.
“We chose Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and Nigerians are all aware. Even in the 8th National Assembly, Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu emerged presiding officers of the Senate against the intention of the APC.
“Our thinking now is that the APC and the President-elect will learn from past mistakes and do the proper thing through consultation, interface, reach out, persuasion and persuade the members of the National Assembly and all the stakeholders in arriving at that position.”
He added: “The essence of Constitutional democracy is to give power to the people. What we are witnessing today is against the tenets of democracy.
“It is against what we stood for for over two decades. It is an insult for the APC to dictate to me where I will go in choosing the presiding officers.
“We are representatives of the people came with our own agenda, the agenda of our people and there are so many issues on the ground now. Some people are agitating that we must sit down and discuss our Constitution.
“Some people are asking for true federal system; others are asking for fiscal federalism, while some people are asking for restructuring to change the political structure of Nigeria.
“Some people are not even happy with the way and manner the country is going, and so they intend to break out from Nigeria. The only way we can face these challenges is to have the Constitution as our guidance. Allow us to sit down and do the needful. Allow us to do those things that will promote unity, happiness and prosperity of Nigeria.
“I am advising the President-elect, that as a democrat, we learnt a lot from him. He was in forefront in fighting Obasanjo for this democracy.
“We were with him when we stopped Jonathan from installing leadership in the House of Representatives. So, ‘Baba’ don’t allow sycophants, don’t allow the so-called new cabal in Nigeria to dictate to you; we will not allow it and we will resist it.
“Some of your sons are still in the National Assembly and we know that you are very consistent in terms of democracy and you are very consistent with the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We learnt a lot from you but we will not allow this one to happen when we are in the National Assembly. It is a game of number, and we are doing our best to teach them another lesson.
“We are in touch with 109 senators-elect and I will assure you that we have a serious number to stop imposition in the Senate or in the House of Representatives. Yesterday the House showed Nigerians a lesson.
“We are consulting and politics is a game of number, it’s a game of persuasion, interface and we are doing it. We will cross the bridge when we get there.
What we are saying is that we have many challenges in Nigeria and we have a document which all of us have agreed to, the constitution, why can’t we use the constitution to resolve the logjam?”
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