FG restructures Bank of Agriculture: The federal government (FG) on Thursday announced the commencement of the restructuring of the Bank of Agriculture in order to ease credit facility to Nigerian farmers. It made the announcement at a press briefing in Abuja as it celebrated the 2017 World Food Day. (Source: Punch)
NERC fines Ibadan Disco N50m for misuse of CBN loan: For allegedly giving out a loan worth N6bn (US$16.7m) from the N11.4bn it received from the Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilisation Fund (NEMSF) granted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to its core investor group, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has levied a fine of N50m on the Ibadan electricity distribution company (Disco). (Source: Thisday)
Interbank lending rate drops to 20% on cash squeeze ease expectation: The nation’s overnight lending rate dropped to 20% on Thursday on expectation that a cash squeeze will ease after money market rates more than doubled previous session.(Source: Punch)
NNPC invites investors to partake in oil search in seven inland basins: The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday disclosed that it plans to invite investors to participate in its search for oil in seven inland basins of Nigeria and was developing modalities for this. Its group managing director, Maikanti Baru, disclosed that as part of strategies to build up Nigeria’s oil reserve base, the corporation will revive exploratory activities in the seven hydrocarbon basins in the country with prospective investors’ participation. (Source: Thisday)
Buhari reappoints Orji NSIA boss: President Muhammadu Buhari has reappointed Uche Orji as managing director of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority. Orji was first appointed in October 2012 for an initial term of five years, renewable for another term of five years. (Source: Punch)
Stakeholders unveil new funding initiative for mortgage banks: Stakeholders in the housing finance industry have inaugurated the Mortgage Warehouse Funding Limited (MWFL), a special purpose company set up to provide short-term local currency and competitively priced funding to mortgage banks. The MWFL, a private-sector driven initiative to enhance mortgage banks’ origination capacity, was incorporated in December 2014 and initially sponsored by a group of eight mortgage banks. (Source: Punch)
Aquaculture in need of a leg-up
The FGN has rolled out several reforms for the agriculture sector over the past 24 months, some of which have been geared towards the fisheries industry. There has been a pick-up in local fish supply; the FGN said in Q2 2017 that production was 71% higher at 1.2 million metric tons (mmt). Nigeria’s annual fish demand is estimated at 3.3mmt, only 36% of which is supplied domestically. In 2015 the fish import bill was US$700m.
· The FGN has been steadily reducing fish importation quotas and may now halt them in the name of backward integration. The annual fish import baseline set in 2015 was 500,000mt.
· The improved production figures reported by the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development do not sit comfortably with the recent output figures released by the NBS.
· The latest GDP figures (Q2 2017) show that fisheries accounted for just 2% of total agriculture GDP and contracted by -2.7% y/y. We suspect that poor access to finance continues to constrain the fish farmers, resulting in difficulty in boosting output.
· The high cost of fish feed has been cited as a core reason for low aquaculture yields. We gather that fish feed accounts for c.75% of the total cost of production. Perhaps the reforms within the fertiliser industry will assist with pulling fish feed prices downwards as most farmers attribute the high cost of fish feeds to fertiliser costs.
· To encourage increased local fish production, the FGN has announced plans to train 500 youths in aquaculture next year. Although this is commendable, the segment would also benefit largely from increased financial intervention vehicles. The CBN has set up a few, however, these have had minimal effect on the fisheries segment.
Agricultural productivity and food supply have been a growing focus worldwide since Accenture Development Partnerships began work in 2002. Environmental degradation, urbanization, insecure land rights, and complexities across the value chain mean that ensuring the availability, accessibility and utilization of food is increasingly complex. Improved efficiencies in the supply chain can lead to benefits for agricultural producers and the communities they serve. Buyers who invest in reviewing, programming, forecasting and streamlining ordering processes will provide producers with more stable demand. In reducing these risks and bringing stability to planting and employment, small-scale producers are able to invest with confidence in their land, their workers and their communities. Accenture Development Partnerships is able to develop the tools and approaches for our clients to analyse markets, build capacity, integrate program management and negotiate effective partnerships for change. Utilizing shared expertise and best practice from across the agricultural sector also provides the opportunity for a multi-faceted approach to development, sharing insight with related areas such as nutrition, health, water and the environment. Organizations need to move away from grant-based development sector programmatic interventions to integrated, long-term sustainable models of market-based improvement in order to deliver systemic change.
Drawing on expertise from Accenture’s Agriculture Group, Accenture Development Partnerships is able to facilitate public-private partnerships and deliver system-wide change across agricultural NGOs and the sector as a whole. Helping Oxfam GB develop a toolkit for design and delivery of high quality Gendered Enterprise and Markets (GEM) programs Oxfam GB is an affiliate of Oxfam International, an international nongovernmental organization (NGO) that addresses poverty and injustice. To deliver its Gendered Enterprise and Markets (GEM) initiative, a component of Oxfam’s livelihoods work that seeks to deliver programs that facilitate the sustainable inclusion of women and smallholder farmers in agricultural market systems, Oxfam GB needed a flexible methodology for program design—i.e., a GEM toolkit. This would assist countries with different levels of experience at delivering livelihoods programming to design GEM programs, develop and implement them.
Feeding a hungry world will not succeed without the cooperation of all agricultural stakeholders: large and small. No industry requires a more transformational shift than the agricultural sector: after all, the planet needs to be able to feed a projected nine billion people by 2050. Food companies will most likely confront the challenge of securing more sustainable and transparent supply chains as consumers in established and emerging markets are more concerned about the origins of food products. Meanwhile, regions of the world now more integral to global food production, such as Africa and Latin America, are home to millions of small holder farmers that large multinational companies cannot simply dismiss. Climate change, diminishing resources and the emerging middle class’ demand for higher quality food ingredients will vex both businesses and governments in the decades ahead.
The problems seem too complex for one stakeholder group to take on alone. As Fred Luckey, Chairman of Field to Market (a multi-stakeholder alliance of agribusinesses, food companies and conservation organizations) observed: “The bottom line is, without all the involved supply chain and expert parties at the table we can’t reach actionable consensus. And, without consensus we can’t make progress.” Multinational organizations are uniquely positioned to compare and contrast best practices across the world, while governments generally have more of a local orientation. Margaret Zeigler, Executive Director of the Global Harvest Initiative, an alliance of multinationals and large NGOs, noted that much of the world still relies on small farmers and they cannot be left out of the conversation. They face challenges to their land tenure during the current “global land rush”, are in need of innovative mechanizations for harvesting their crops, and are struggling to find labor as younger generations move to cities, according to Zeigler. “As a private sector industry, we have to talk more about adapting to the needs of small holder farmers,” she added, emphasizing that, of the 500 million small farmers worldwide, 43 percent of them are women and they are particularly vulnerable to agriculture’s changing landscape.
Changes within the global agricultural system will require everyone within the agricultural supply chain to produce more with less. Monsanto Company is one company working proactively with stakeholders to find new ways to increase crop yields while reducing land, energy and water usage. “Companies like ours are uniquely positioned to impact sustainability and food security”, said Stephanie Regagnon, Monsanto’s Director of Sustainable Agricultural Portfolio. Nevertheless these companies, even with their knowledge and experience, must collaborate with other stakeholder groups in order to enhance the world’s food security, build stakeholder trust and bolster agricultural supply chains. An example of such cooperation is Water-Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA), a public-private partnership that is focused on developing and distributing drought-resistant and pest tolerant seeds, royalty-free, to farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
Former US Under-secretary of Agriculture, Thomas Dorr, emphasized the need for nations to revamp their food production systems. According to Dorr, the American agricultural model is a success story in many ways. It evolved over decades and was fuelled by domestic demand and a focus on commodities such as wheat, corn and livestock. For Dorr, the issue is that “as these emerging middle class economies grow, they don’t have time or capacity to build a commodity-driven system. But they will have resources to secure what they cannot produce”. It would be helpful if governments would ensure more thoughtful trade policies to develop opportunities so that countries can feed their people while creating other crops to export to other markets. Plus the same governments would do well to ensure a strong legal system so that the same small land holders’ property rights are secure.
Kano Govt. approves N10m for production of one million tree seedlings.
Kano State Government has approved N10 million for the production one million tree seedlings for the cultivation of eight new lines of shelterbelt.
The state Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, made this known on Thursday in Kano when he briefed newsmen on the outcome of the State Executive Council meeting.
He said that the move was part of the government’s renewed efforts to check desert encroachment in some parts of the state.
He said that the tree seedlings would be produced in designated nursery centres located across the state.
Besides, Garba said that N114 million was approved for the completion and equipping of the library of the College of Arts Science and Remedial Studies.
He said that the state government also approved N57 million for the procurement of sporting materials and equipment for various sports in the state.
The commissioner said that N20 million was approved for the re-accreditation of 10 new courses at Audu Bako College Agriculture, Dambatta.
“N25 million was approved for the purchase of a 33KVA electricity transformer for Audu Bako Secretariat.
“Also, N80 million has been approved for the construction of reinforced line drainage at Kofar-Mata in the Kano metropolis.
Garba said that N113 million was approved as 30-per-cent counterpart funding for the rural component of the water supply and sanitation sector reform programme, which was being executed in collaboration with UNICEF.
He reiterated the government’s determination to develop the state’s infrastructure, as part of efforts to improve the wellbeing of the people. (NAN)
The Nigeria Agro Inputs Dealers Association (NAIDA) says the provision of adequate and affordable farm inputs will boost agricultural productivity in the country.
Alhaji Saidu Zakari, President of the association, said this on Wednesday in an interview in Abuja on the sidelines of a conference organised by the Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI).
CARI is a programme of German Development Cooperation (GIZ), aimed at developing rice farming and making farm inputs available, affordable, and accessible to farmers.
Zakari said that seeds, fertilisers and crop protection materials (agro-chemicals) were essential for improving the productivity and income of smallholder farmers in developing countries.
“Input supply is a critical factor in inclusive agricultural and rural development; this is why many donors support initiatives that will improve the access of smallholder farmers to quality inputs,’’ he said.
He said that Nigeria was facing two key gaps in its agricultural sector nowadays, adding that these were the inability to meet domestic food requirements and the inability to export at quality level.
Zakari said that the inability to meet domestic food needs was a productivity challenge which was driven by an input system and a farming model that were largely inefficient.
According to him, the ageing population of farmers in the country do not have enough seeds, fertilisers, irrigation facilities, crop protection and related support to enable them to be successful.
“The other challenge is driven by an equally inefficient system for setting and enforcing food quality standards as well as poor knowledge of target markets.
“Insufficient food testing facilities, weak inspectorate system in the public sector at all levels of government, and poor coordination among relevant federal agencies compound the early stage problems,’’ he said.
Zakari, however, identified weak legal and regulatory framework, unstable policy environment, poorly developed infrastructure and inadequate financial support as the major factors militating against the sustainable growth of the agricultural sector.
He said that the other challenges included lack of information on newly developed improved seedlings, inadequate extension services due to poor funding of the states’ Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs) and poor rural infrastructure.
He also attributed the challenges facing crop protection to the tedious and incoherent registration procedures which had limited the market to a few companies, thereby limiting the choice of farmers.
“Inadequate information on the agro-chemical needs of the country makes it difficult for the agro inputs dealers to forecast and plan their supplies accordingly.
“Unorganised distribution system with weak regulatory system result in the sale of fake, adulterated or out-dated products.
“The problems also include government’s interference in the development of private-sector inputs production and supply network and low level of commercialisation, access to information and knowledge,’’ he said.
Zakari underscored the need for the government and other stakeholders to create a macro policy environment, while declaring and adhering to a consistent inputs marketing policy, as part of efforts to ensure the stability of the sector.
“Government should also build human capital for market development, improve access to finance, develop and implement regulatory frameworks.
“It should also promote market transparency via a market information system, promote technology transfer activities and strengthen research capacity for promoting private seed industry,’’ he said.
Zakari, however, stressed that CARI was committed to developing agriculture in Nigeria by reviewing the structures, functions and constraints of the agricultural input markets.
He said that the programme would also develop programmes and policies that would strengthen the functioning of agricultural input markets.
He said that CARI would develop an operational strategy or action plan for managing the transition from public sector to private sector driven agricultural input markets.
The unavailability of adequate funds is often blamed for inability to scale agribusiness in Nigeria to match continuous diversification rhetoric, however, the country falters in adequately tapping from private equity investments in Africa which continue to grow in value.
Nigeria, with a $22.5 billion food import bill, representing potential for revenue if local solutions are developed, also has over 80 million hectares of arable with less than half of it under cultivation. The potentials for growth and steady flow of revenue in a consumer driven nation of 180 million people, with broad influence over the rest of the sub-region, is however impeded by lack of accurate data for potential investors to work with, as well as poor governance structures by many businesses, amongst other encumbrances.
One of the characteristics of Private Equity that will suit agriculture includes being a long-term form of investment; willing to commit resources and expertise to develop a business over several years. They are also targeted at businesses with high growth potentials, a value also provided by agriculture, especially in Nigeria.
The African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA) in its Annual African Private Equity (PE) report for 2016, noted that “Overall, there were 145 PE deals reported in Africa over the course of the year, amounting to US$3.8bn – versus US$2.5bn in 2015 – highlighting the robust nature of Africa’s investment landscape amidst global headwinds and worldwide political shifts.”
However, from 2011 to 2016, West Africa (including Nigeria) has attracted only 27 percent of private equity deals in the continent. South Africa alone (as a country), attracted 22 percent.
Analysts have expressed the view that Nigeria still holds very good prospects for investments given its large untapped resources, growth potential and substantial infrastructure requirements.
Kazim Yusuf, CEO, Kord capital limited told BusinessDay by phone, that private equity operates in a terrain where there is structure and process.
“And that is partly why private equity hasn’t grown in Nigeria, and other unstructured markets in Africa,” Yusuf said “Private equity functions where there is enough data to work on because private equity operators typically require data in order to deploy resources to invest in or manage businesses.” Yusuf noted that PE firms will look at credit ratings, audited accounts, corporate governance structure, among other criteria and all these will influence the investment decision.
Mezuo Nwuneli, Managing Partner, Sahel Capital Agribusiness Managers Ltd, whose company recently closed $66 million funding for agriculture in Nigeria, identified the potentials for PE in Nigeria, saying that it has the ability to provide growth capital to selected high-performing companies to enable them rapidly scale-up.
Even more important than the funding is the technical and operational support that private equity firms can provide companies, Nwuneli said.
As Yusuf explained, for a market as big as Nigeria, we have not had as much Private equity activity as we should.
“Now, that is the problem with Nigeria generally but when you now move into a sector like agriculture, it becomes even more problematic, because even people with experience investing in the Nigerian economy have challenges with agriculture. The agricultural sector has even peculiar challenges,” Yusuf observed.
Timilehin Olaiwola, a business analyst at Investment One Vencap also identified challenges of PE in gaining traction in Nigeria as “Poor information aggregation and dissemination about agric business.”
Professor of Agriculture and Fellow of the Agricultural Society of Nigeria (FASN), Dr Vincent Imo, has emphasised the importance of root and tuber crops, and their immense contribution to the nation’s economic development.
He argued that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, cannot succeed without paying special attention to these crops, neither will the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umuahia, which is charged with the statutory mandate of developing these crops.
Imo stated this in a keynote, titled: “Unlocking the Potential of Root and Tuber Crops to Address Food Security and Economic Challenges of Nigeria: Efforts of NRCRI Umudike.”
He posited that the term root and tuber crops are synonymous with food security, the absence of which can lead to starvation in Nigeria.He listed such crops to include Cassava, Yam, Sweet Potato, Irish Potato, Cocoyam, Ginger, Turmeric, Sugar beet, Living Stone among others. He added that due to the NRCRI key roles, Nigeria remains the highest producer of Cassava, Yam and Cocoyam with their annual output as 50 million, 37 million and 5.49 million tonnes respectively.
According to Imo, over 80 million Nigerians depend on Cassava for their dietary energy source, pointing out that “in food security therefore, NRCRI Umudike , is playing a very vital role that needs commendation.
Imo, a former Vice Chancellor of the Gregory University Uturu, in Abia State, said: “NRCRI has by deploying the Appropriate Keys of Research + Inspiration, through unlocking the yield and value addition of potentials of Root and Tuber Crops, recorded a lot of achievements.”
Some of these achievements are in the areas of economic empowerment of farmers, rural women, jobs creation, use of Cassava in the Livestock Feed industry, and industrial raw material, manorial products for crop production, fuel wood etc even as they have health benefits.He recalled that some years ago, government provided 30 million bundles of high yielding Cassava stems free to farmers across the country, most of which came from the NRCRI. adding that out of the 70 per cent of Nigerians engaged in Agriculture, over 45 per cent are in root and tuber crops production.
He added that recently, “Nigeria spent $11billion importing foods such as wheat, rice, fish, and sugar, which reduced her foreign exchange drastically.” However, he said the Institute helped reduce such losses with 20 per cent wheat substitution in bread through its high quality cassava flour (HQCF).
Furthermore, he said Nigeria commenced exportation of 1.1 million metric tonnes of dried cassava chips to China, worth $136million, adding that greater foreign exchange earnings await the country if the production of cassava is increased.
The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina is to commission the $700,000 building for youth agripreneurs as part of activities to mark the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) at 50
The building is a new Training Facility for Capacity Development for Youth Agripreneurs funded by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and IITA
In a statement to from the IITA, states that the $700,000 youth training facility comprises of two major training rooms that can sit conveniently 50 trainees each, two big offices that can sit 30 interns each, and 20 standard sized offices.
Chair of the IITA @50 Organizing Committee Dr Kwesi Atta-, emphasized the importance of youth engagement in agriculture of the future.
He said the celebration of the 50th year of IITA in Africa transcends past achievements. “It is also an opportunity for us to begin to look at the future of agriculture and the role IITA will be playing especially as it relates to emerging challenges of climate change, pests and diseases, and rising youth unemployment,” he added.
Established in 1967 through a partnership of the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation of the United States, IITA has helped in raising the productivity of Africa’s key crops – cassava, banana/plantain, maize, cowpea, yam, and soybean using the power of innovative science and technology
Dr Kenton Dashiell, IITA Deputy Director General, Partnerships for Delivery, said besides crop and livelihood improvement, IITA’s biggest contributions and strengths are the capacity development of Africans in the agricultural space, and its network of strong national, regional, and international partners. “Some of our alumni such as Akin Adesina today occupy key positions and are driving the development of agriculture in their respective countries, and in Adesina’s case, the African continent,” he added.
The statement further revealed that Nigeria’s Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, will speak on food security and Nigeria’s preparedness to diversify its economy using agriculture as a lever.
Prof Osinbajo leads other dignitaries and leaders from scientific research, education, and corporate organizations from African countries and beyond, in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on Monday, 24 July 2017 in Ibadan. He will be joined by former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd), and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is also IITA Goodwill Ambassador.
The event provides Nigeria’s acting president the opportunity to address more than 300 international, regional, and national experts, and to further unveil the country’s thinking towards agriculture especially in the context of economic diversification. He will also speak on the critical role of IITA—Africa’s biggest international agricultural research institute—in the transformation of Africa’s agriculture.
IITA DG,Dr Nteranya Sanginga, said the world is waiting for Nigeria to take leadership in the agricultural space…and the Acting president’s message would be critical in helping participants to understand the country’s agricultural development agenda.