Odu’a launches digital-driven platform to transform agric enterprises in Southwest

The Odu’a Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ODU’ACCIMA) on Thursday inaugurated Agbetuntun, a fully digital-driven platform to entice the youth to agricultural businesses and ensure food security within the Southwest and other Yoruba speaking communities in Nigeria.
The platform was launched at the premises of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan with plum and fanfare.
While explaining the reason behind the project to journalists at a press conference held shortly before the launch, President of ODU’ACCIMA, Kola Akosile, said the initiators had critically considered the attraction of youth to the modern day technology, and were confident that if properly exploited the revolution would not only attract them to agriculture and its related genres of human endeavour, but also pave the way for the kind of unprecedented development witnessed in the days of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the old Western Region.
He said the project is proposed to take off with between 10,000 to 20,000 farmers this year, with a target of about one million beneficiaries in the next five years.
The Agbetuntun initiative is primarily conceived to use technology to attract the youth into agriculture, monitor and coordinate all the value chains, also through technology, for maximum yield and development of the people and space across the Yoruba speaking states in Nigeria.
“It is essentially a value chain approach to agriculture and agribusiness in the southwest.
“Hitherto, we have the intervention of silos in strategic places across the region. But now, we want to have an integrated approach which was coined ‘from farm to fork’.
“We are looking at things that will stand the years and bring about the kind lasting legacies of firsts achieved with proceeds from agriculture in the old Western region during the time of our revered Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the Premier.
“We believe if we could achieve so much with analogue, we should achieve much more deploying digital technology in this digital age,’ he said.
Describing the project as a movement and transformational approach to agriculture and agribusiness, Akosile said Agbetuntun is designed to leverage on the population of the youth (which was said to be above 60 percent of the entire population), their interests, energy and sophistication, to fully tap into the potentials of agriculture to the progress of the Yoruba communities in Nigeria and the people therein.
“It is a transformational approach that essentially involves using digital approach to change the narratives of agriculture and agribusinesses in the Southwest Nigeria.
“From statistics, agriculture has the potentials to bring employment opportunities to our teaming youths and provide the space to express themselves and contribute their quota to the development of the region, the Nigerian nation and the African continent,” he enthused.
The ODU’ACCIMA boss further informed that apart from the traditional six states – Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo and Ekiti – the project will extend its benefits to folks in Edo, Kwara and Kogi States where there are Yoruba speaking communities.
He said the initiative is partnering with all stakeholders to ensure all stages of the chain value are taken care of without any hassles.
These, he added, included provision of finances, land, transportation, agro support service, ready buyers for the farm produces among others.

Exports: Nigeria made N212.73bn from agriculture in Q4 2016 – document

Exports

Nigeria realised N212.73 billion from agricultural product exports at the end of the fourth quarter of 2016.

This was disclosed in excerpts of a book entitled: ‘‘Making steady, sustainable progress for Nigeria’s peace and prosperity: a mid-term scorecard on the President Muhammadu Buhari administration,’’

It was authored by the Presidential Media Team.

The book, which will be presented to the public on Nov. 16 in Abuja, was sighted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

“At the end of 2016, agricultural goods, as share of total trade, got N212.73 billion and 4.02 per cent.

“Agricultural goods’ exports were 2.7 per cent higher in the fourth quarter of 2016 than third quarter of the year.’’

It stated that the products, which contributed most to agricultural product exports in the fourth quarter, were sesame seeds with N6.46 billion, frozen shrimps and prawns with N4.4 billion.

According to the report, flour and meals of soya beans contribute N2.59 billion; cashew nuts in shell, N0.95 billion, and crude palm kernel with N0.62 billion.

It stated that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had commenced work on the development of a five-year (2017-2021) action plan on Single Quality Control Management Plan, as recommended by the European Union.

“The plan is to meet international standards, inter-state trading and global acceptance of the nation’s commodities.

“The commodities targeted for exports include cocoa, palm produce, groundnut, cashew, yam (flour and tubers) sesame seed, pineapple, banana/plantain, tea, ginger, coffee, kola nut, shea butter, pulses, hides and skins, potato, fruit and vegetables.’’

The report said the ministry had commenced an undertaking of strategic intervention in the Kenaf value chain for cultivation, processing, and manufacturing of Kenaf/Jute bags for packaging.

“Displeased to share the latest rejection of our produce at the European Union Border Controls, the ministry has commenced steps towards bringing the standards of Nigeria’s agricultural exports to global standards.

“This culminated in two meetings held in Lagos, in January and February 2017, on food safety and zero reject of agricultural products.

“Standards and Quality control measures are now being developed in response to the rejection, last year, of exports (as in beans in the EU and some other commodities),’’ the report said.

It added that the ministry was taking a pioneering role in the mechanisms to safeguard Nigeria’s agricultural exports from being rejected at the frontier markets.

The publication was edited by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity; Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, and Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, (Office of the Vice President).

The book, authored by the Presidential Media Team, is a documentation of the notable achievements of the Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration since it was inaugurated on May 29, 2015.

President Buhari wrote the foreword of the 348-page book, containing milestones of all the federal ministries and some select departments and agencies in the last two years.

The Buhari Media Support Group also contributed to the compendium rich with text and visuals.

The book will be reviewed by Prince Tony Momoh while APC National leader  Bola Tinubu is the keynote speaker/book Presenter.

Source: NAN

Cassava bread initiative can generate N255bn annually

The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria says the revival of the cassava bread initiative is capable of injecting about N255 billion into the country’s economy every year.
Mr Joseph Ubah, the Publicity Secretary of the association, said this on Thursday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said that initiative, which involved the use of composite flour containing 10 per cent cassava flour, for baking bread, would discourage exportation of wheat and promote cassava production in the country.
Ubah, who bemoaned the perceptible inconsistency as to the continuation of some government policies, said that large consignments of wheat were still being imported into the country.
He said that if the initiative was revived, the money for wheat importation would be saved and used to fund national development projects or tackle some pressing issues in the country
Ubah stressed that the revival of the cassava bread initiative would boost the economy and encourage cassava farmers to improve their production.
“We have been able to reach a point where a consumer would not be able to differentiate between bread baked with cassava flour and the one baked with only wheat flour, but that programme was later jettisoned.
“If we must progress in this country, there must be continuity in our policies.
“Nigeria will be earning over N255 billion annually if 10 per cent cassava flour is included in bread; Nigerian bakers are even capable of increasing the percentage of cassava flour in bread to 20 per cent.
“Then, we will be talking of generating about N450 billion annually, which will be added to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) if this initiative is revived,’’ he said.
Ubah noted that that the price of wheat was currently high, adding that the addition of cassava flour to the wheat flour would reduce the cost of flour production and bread production by extension.
He, therefore, urged the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to revive the cassava bread initiative in order to put bakers back in business.