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Buhari charges agric varsities to bridge food insecurity gap

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President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammad Buhari
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President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged universities of agriculture in the country to bridge the gap of food insecurity and address the nation’s dependence on imported foods.

He said the specialised universities must play their crucial role in catalaysing the development of the agricultural sector, to help Federal Government achieve its goal of sustainable green economy.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Buhari said this on Saturday, at the 10th Convocation ceremony of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU), Abia.

The president, who is the visitor to the university was represented by Dr Mohammed Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the government was looking up to the universities as lead drivers of the agricultural sector.

Buhari, who admitted that Nigeria is currently facing challenge of funding, however said that its endowments were far greater than constraints.

MOUAU Chancellor, Alhaji Shehu Abubakar, commended President Buhari and the university management for the smooth running of the institution.

Abubakar, the Emir of Gombe, congratulated the graduands and urged them to be ambassadors of the university anytime.

He commended the university host communities for their cooperation and called on relevant government agencies to extend helping hands in alleviating problems hindering fast development of the school.

Earlier in his address, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Maduebibisi Iwe, disclosed that the university was graduating a total of 6,606 students, with 4,115 belonging to the 2018/2019 academic year at the undergraduate and post graduate levels.

Iwe, who is the sixth vice-chancellor, in his breakdown, said 5,817 obtained bachelor’s degree, 92 with postgraduate diploma, 454 had master’s degree while 243 were awarded with doctoral degree.

“Out of the 5,817 first degree graduands, 92 obtained first class honours; 1,775 with second class honours upper division; 2,905 had second class honours lower division while 1,226 with third class and 18 with pass,” he said.

Iwe said the university had recorded many breakthroughs, but called for significant infusion of funds for the upgrade of its physical environment.

NAN reports that the university conferred honorary degrees on four distinguished Nigerians in recognition of their positive contributions to the society.

The awardees are: Oba Akeem Ogungbangbe, the Ajagbusi-Ekun VI Owaloko of Iloko-Ijesa, Osun; Alhaji Usman Kansila, Founder, UYK Nigeria; Dr Cosmas Maduka, Founder and Chairman of Coscharis Group and Mr Chika Ikenga, Founder and Managing Director of Eunisell.(NAN)

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Agriculture

Senate passes bill to establish Agricultural Development Fund

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Nigerian Senate
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The Senate, on Tuesday, passed a bill to establish the National Agricultural Development Fund.

The passage of the bill followed the consideration of a motion for re-commital of the National Development Fund (Establishment) Bill, 2022.

The motion was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North).

Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, in his presentation, recalled that both chambers of the National Assembly passed the National Development Fund (Establishment) Bill, 2022, and transmitted same to the President for assent.

He noted that after critical examination of the Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari, some fundamental issues which required fresh legislative action on some Clauses were observed.

He explained that against the backdrop, a Technical Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives met and worked on the affected Clauses of the Bill, “desirous of the need to assess the observations by the Committee and make necessary amendments.”

Accordingly, the chamber rescinded its decision on the affected Clause of the Bill as passed and re-committed same to the Committee of the Whole for re-consideration and passage.

The bill was passed by the chamber after the affected Clauses were re-considered by the Committee of the Whole.

In a related development, a total of three bills scaled second reading during plenary on Tuesday.

The bills are for an Act to provide for the facilitation and co-ordination of public infrastructure development; to amend the Provisions of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act; and to Repeal the Quarantine Act and Enact the National Health Emergency Act.

The bills were sponsored by Senators Sadiq Suleiman Umar (Kwara North); Uche Lilian Ekwunife (Anambra Central); and Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North).

The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over plenary on Tuesday, referred the bills after consideration to the Committees on National Planning; Trade and Investment; and Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases.

The Committees were given four weeks to report back to the chamber in plenary.
 

 

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Agriculture

Senate passes bill to establish College of Crop Science and Food Technology

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan
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 …approves Federal University of Agriculture in Enugu State

 The Senate has passed a bill seeking to establish the Federal College of Crop Science and Food Technology Lere, Kaduna State.

This was even as the chamber gave its nod to four bills for concurrence from the House of Representatives.

Also passed was a bill seeking to establish the Federal University of Agriculture Mpu, Enugu State.

The passage of the bills to establish the Federal College of Crop Science and Federal University of Agriculture  was sequel to the consideration of two separate reports by the Committees on Agriculture and Rural Development; and Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.

Presentations on the reports were made by Senator Abdullahi Adamu, who chairs the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development;  and Senator Tolulope Odebiyi, on behalf of the Chairman of the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, Senator Ahmad Babba-Kaita.

Senator Abdullahi, in his presentation, said the establishment of the Federal College of Crop Sciences and Food Technology, Lere, would provide full-time or part-time courses of in Crop Science and Food Technology, Applied Science, Commerce and Management.

He added that the Institution would also provide training to address the needs of Nigeria in the area of agricultural production, industrial distribution and research in the development and adaptation of technologies.

In a related development, the Senate on Wednesday passed four bills for concurrence from the House of Representatives.

The bills were sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North).

The bills include: the National Biotechnology Development Agency (Establishment) Bill, 2022; and School of Mines and Geological Studies, Akoko Edo Local Government (Establishment) Bill, 2022.

Others are the Federal Medical Centre Igboho, Oyo State (Establishment) Bill, 2022; and Federal College of Education Keana, Nasarawa State (Establishment) Bill, 2022.

The four bills for concurrence were passed after a clause-by-clause consideration by the Committee of the Whole.

Meanwhile, a Bill For An Act to Amend the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) Act 2022, on Wednesday, scaled second reading.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Sadiq Suleiman Umar (Kwara North).

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bill after consideration to the Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters for further legislative work.

The Committee was given four weeks to report back to the Senate in plenary.

 

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Agriculture

Food Security: Senate approves establishment of National Rice Development Council

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Pyramids of Rice
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…says Nigeria’ll save $2bn annually on rice importation 
 
The Senate has passed a bill seeking to establish the National Rice Development Council, a move that would see to Nigeria saving about $2 billion dollars on rice importation and improve the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

The passage of the bill followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.

Chairman of the Committee, Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West), in his presentation, said that the bill seeks to establish a Council that would lead to a comprehensive development of the rice sector and the organisation of rice stakeholders to enhance local production of rice in Nigeria.

He explained that the establishment of the Council would transform the activities of rice farmers, rice processors, millers, researchers, marketers and other important stakeholders across the entire rice value chain, particularly the clusters of smallholder rice farmers and small scale millers spread all over the country.

“Mr. President and Distinguished Colleagues, with our natural comparative advantage in the area of rice production as a country, Nigeria should consider the need to put in place a National Rice Development Council and a fail-safe comprehensive national rice development roadmap that will guide us not only into a regime of self-sufficiency in production, but also for export purposes, employment generation for our teaming youth and growth of our economy.

“The Nigerian rice industry exists in abstract as there appears to be no form of coordination in the absence of a properly structured rallying point.

“Today, we have Paddy Rice Dealers Association of Nigeria (PRIDAN), Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN), Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN) and many more.

“This Bill seeks to establish that rallying point and a comprehensive National operational and governance structure for a complete rice value chain process.

“Mr. President and Distinguished Colleagues, this Bill on its own merit will improve government efforts for efficient policy and regulatory framework for the Nigerian Rice Industry; promote enabling business and investment environments for Rice stakeholders; support the growth of the Rice industry in Nigeria and in the sub-region as well as promote the sustainability of foreign exchange earnings put at about 2 billion dollars annually for Rice related importation to the country.

“The framework created by thịs Bill will pull investment into rice production, provide the missing link between rice production and industrialization, provide employment, reduce migration from rural to urban cities and enhance socio-economic activities all over the country.

“Few countries having Rice Council include Rice Council of Tanzania, USA Rice Council, Directorate of Rice Development (India), Rice Association of Thailand, among others”, Senator Adamu said.

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