Research should be problem-focused by Professor Emmanuel Ajisegiri A Professor of Agricultural Engineering

Research should be problem-focused by Professor Emmanuel Ajisegiri A Professor of Agricultural Engineering

Research should be problem-focused by Professor Emmanuel Ajisegiri A Professor of Agricultural Engineering

A Professor of Agricultural Engineering at the Federal University of Agriculture, (FUNAAB) Abeokuta, Professor Emmanuel Ajisegiri, has called on researchers in the country to embark on problem-focused researches, as a panacea to solving the myriads of challenges confronting the nation.

Professor Ajisegiri who disclosed this while speaking on his research contributions to the society in Abeokuta decried the existing gap between industries and the nation’s tertiary institutions blaming the negative trend on the attitude of stakeholders to research in the country,.

“I have worked as a research professor for two years in Germany. I know what it means, you also have your place in the industry; it is the problems in the industry that are brought to the university to be solved. When it is solved, it is taken back into the industry”.

The professor of Agricultural Engineering had in Germany worked on determining the optimum temperature, moisture and air velocity for maximum shelf life. He also recorded research feat in 24 other food items including constituted fruits and vegetable salads.
“Let me tell you, it is unfortunate that people do not do meaningful research. They don’t do problem -focused; problem- related research and that is what is supposed to be the essence of research, to solve existing problems, and not just a mere academic exercise towards publications for promotion. There is no handshake between the industries, entrepreneurs and researchers”, he noted.

Ajisegiri, who is also a former South-West Coordinator, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), said the way forward is to give research its pride of place.

“This is a knowledge-driven society, without the creation of knowledge, you cannot make it and it is through research that you can create knowledge and good attention should be given to it”, he added.

He further advised the government to fund research adequately, adding that if only one out of 100 research outputs was successful and could solve problems, it was capable of paying off for the other 99 that did not succeed.

13 countries seek $1.1 billion for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Northeast

13 countries seek $1.1 billion for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Northeast
PHOTO / STEFAN HEUNIS

13 countries seek $1.1 billion for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Northeast

Reps rue absence of data

No fewer than 13 countries are seeking $1.1 billion (N330 billion) as humanitarian assistance to 1.8 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) affected by Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east sub-region of the country.

The Ambassador of Ireland, Sean Hoy, disclosed this yesterday in Maiduguri, while briefing journalists about the “worsening humanitarian crisis” in the three affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.

He said that the 13 ambassadors and representatives of Republic of Korea, Sweden, Netherlands, Japan, Germany, France, U.S, United Kingdom, and Norway among other countries; will attend the Oslo Conference slated for February 24, 2017 to raise the $1.1 billion.

The appeal fund, according to Hoy, was to address the humanitarian crises in the north east of Nigeria, adding that the displaced persons have been grossly lacking humanitarian assistances, including basic needs, such as shelter, water and health care services.
Hoy listed the four humanitarian intervention and assistance to include, protection of IDPs, food, security and education.

Meawhile, the House of Representatives yesterday lamented the absence of a comprehensive data of IDPs spread across various camps in the country.

The House committee on the north east, refugees and internally displaced persons has called on the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and the Displaced that such data would be required for effective planning and implementation of resettlement re-integration programmes.

The Sani Zorro-led committee which met with the federal commissioner for refugees and internally displaced persons and migrants , Hajia Sadiya Farouk on her outfit 2017 budget proposal also stressed the need for durable solutions to the problems of the IDPs in the polity.

Zorro urged the commission to partner with state governments and NGOs as well as the Federal Capital Territory Administration to get accurate data on the number of persons displaced across the country and how to resettle or integrate them.

Also, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has trained 400 clerics, youth and women leaders in the north east to help propagate counter-terrorism messages to the youth in the zone.

The CDD Programme Officer, Mr. Ikponmwosa Omoijiade, at a workshop yesterday in Yola said that the training which is sponsored by Japanese government is to de-radicalize extremism in the region.

He said the programme is yielding fruitful, pointing out that the clerics and the youth have now understand the implications of radical extremism by some clerics in the country.

National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) yesterday said that January inflation rate rose to 18. 72 per cent

Economist blames high interest rates, cost of production, naira depreciation
PHOTO: Travelstart Nigeria

Economist blames high interest rates, cost of production, naira depreciation

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) yesterday said that January inflation rate rose to 18. 72 per cent, indicating a year-on-year rise pattern since 2016.

The details of the NBS Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January made available to The Guardian yesterday indicated that the inflation rate is higher than that of December 2016 by 0.17 per cent at 18.55 per cent.

NBS added that communication and restaurants and hotels again recorded the slowest pace of growth in January, growing at 5.1 percent and 8.4 percent (year-on-year) respectively.

According to the data, faster headline inflation, were noticed on food items such as bread and cereals, meat, fish.
Others are oils and fats, potatoes, yams and other tubers, wine and spirits, vehicle spare parts and fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, passenger transport by road were increased.

On a month-on-month basis, the data showed that headline inflation was driven by passenger transport by air, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, liquid fuels, cooking gas, oils and fats, fruits, milk, cheese and eggs, fish, meat and bread and cereals.

Also, the NBS transport fare watch for January 2017 covering road, water, transportation, indicated that states with highest bus journey within city in January 2017 were Abuja, which charged up to N4, 960, followed by Adamawa, which charged N3, 500.45 and Lagos, which charged as much as N2, 207.14.

President of the Nigerian Society of Economists (NSE), Prof Ben Aigbokan, said the situation requires strong government approach.

Aigbokan said that government has to listen to the demands of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) over the need to reduce interest rates, maintaining that rates and high cost of production are two key issues driving inflation high.

The NSE chief said government also needs to increase the level of domestic production and look into further depreciation of the naira against the dollar. “It is having a negative effect on the economy and contributes to rising cost of imports.”

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT APPROVES MEASURES TO REDUCE FOOD PRICES

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT APPROVES MEASURES TO REDUCE FOOD PRICES

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT APPROVES MEASURES TO REDUCE FOOD PRICES
The federal government has approved measures to cut down the prices of food in the market. The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, disclosed this to State House correspondents after the federal executive meeting presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa.

It would be recalled that the federal government last week set up a task force on food security to check the rising cost of food items in the market with a one week mandate to report back to the council on Wednesday.

Members of the Task Force include Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh; Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Industry, Trade & Development, Dr. Okey Enelamah; Minister of Transportation, Honorable Rotimi Amaechi; Minister for Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adam; and Minister of Labour & Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.

According to Ogbeh, the hike in cost is “not due to shortage but the high cost of transportation” as food items are generally moved across Nigeria with heavy trucks and the price of diesel which has gone up has, therefore, led to the increase in prices. He listed some of the measures which include using railway wagons to transport food items, work with state governments to reduce delays experienced by trucks along the roads through all sort of taxes by local governments, stop multiple taxations and greenhouse emissions.

He also said the government had decided to adopt the “Ivory Coast model” in which trucks distributing food items are given special labels. Also speaking, Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry, Enelamah said FEC also approved a set of measures to attract investment and boost local production of some essential commodities, such as tomatoes.

The minister also clarified that the government has no plans of controlling the price of food in the market but rather to checkmate the rising cost of food. Ogbeh said the council approved a set of measures to boost production and attract investment into the Nigerian tomato sub-sector as according to him, this is a sector that has lots of farmers. In a state like Kano alone, there are 75,000 farmers and so it is important to encourage them. According to him, the approved set of measures is to encourage them both in local production as well as to attract more investment into tomato farming, processing all the way, the value chain to how tomato gets to our tables.

He explained these measures will include ways to make sure we plant tomato round the year, things like greenhouse equipment, making sure that they can come in without any barriers or duties. They also include the use of both tariff and nontariff measures to address the issues Nigerians are most concerned about, which are the issue of dumping, issues around quality and the standards of what we consume.

LAND GRAB IN AFRICA: DRIVES DISPUTES, DRIVES AWAY INVESTMENTS

LAND GRAB IN AFRICA: DRIVES DISPUTES, DRIVES AWAY INVESTMENTS

LAND GRAB IN AFRICA: DRIVES DISPUTES, DRIVES AWAY INVESTMENTS

Forced evictions are at the heart of most African land disputes, and local anger over those displacements threatens investment across the continent, according to report.

A joint analysis conducted by consultancy firm TMP Systems and the US-based Rights and Resources Initiative found that 63 percent of land disputes focussed on cases of people driven off their land, often to make room for private development projects.

“Most countries need to radically improve the governance of tenure rights to create an attractive and stable investment environment,” said TMP Systems consultancy CEO Lou Munden.

The report paints a picture of similar patterns of conflict over land across the continent, but with differing resources at stake for landowners.

In west Africa, plantation agriculture, especially palm oil, is driving many disputes, while in east Africa land has been seized for large-scale infrastructure and energy projects caused tensions.

In southern Africa mining and sugar plantations had led to land expropriation, fuelling local anger.

Alioune Gueye, President of the Federation of Peasant Landowners in Senegal, was quoted in the report saying that “companies feel they can cut a deal with the government, raze the land, and create vast plantations while the locals are simply pushed out of the way.”

Africa is showing some signs of progress in creating a stronger regulatory framework to deal with land ownership and disputes, said Rights and Resources Initiative coordinator Andy White, citing Cameroon, Kenya, Liberia, Mali and Senegal for breaking new ground.

But he underscored that a deeper sense of urgency was required to address rural poverty “before the anger and the distrust gets out of hand and converts into political disruption.”

Munden said private firms looking to invest in Africa “increasingly understand that unclear tenure rights create financial and reputational risks” — and that could determine their investment choices.

“African governments are competing for investment to spur economic development and improve living standards,” especially from foreign sources, he added.

The report, released in Dakar, also characterised land disputes as arising in areas with a population density twice as high as the world average. They tended to be close to national borders, far from the central government base, and home to poor and underfed people.

Stakeholders have criticised the federal government’s task force

hike-food-price-1

Stakeholders of the agricultural sector have criticized the federal government’s task force initiative to beat down food prices across the country.

The Acting President Yemi Osinbajo had set up a Task Force at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting yesterday to urgently consider measures that would ensure a steady flow of produce to the market and reverse recent price increases.

Giving the directive at the FEC meeting, Osinbajo expressed concern at some of the inflationary rates of food prices, he noted that the Task Force will explore options to promote availability and affordability of food items to Nigerians.

In a chat with AgroNigeria, the stakeholders questioned the practicability of the initiative.

The Chief Executive Officer, Cellulant Nigeria Limited, Bolaji Akinboro asserted that the only way to reduce prices is to invest properly in the country’s agricultural system.

“The only way to reduce prices is to invest properly in Nigeria’s agriculture system- starting from research all the way down to the farm gate. All we need is money and clear policies –money for the development of our research institutions, for our extension systems for our quality control system and certification systems, cold storage systems, warehouse receipt operations, to support the farmers, and lots more”, he said.

He expressed that the government needs to investment more to provide for the country’s teeming population.

“We can’t defy the laws of economics, for a country of almost 200million souls that is investing less than 100 billion naira in its agriculture system. It is only hunger that we will get in return”, he said.

The stakeholders asserted that there was huge informal trans-border trade going on across the country’s major food gateways into the sub-region.

According to the Managing Partner Jaraja E-commerce Limited, Ajibola Alfred “a survey conducted by the NEPC sometime ago showed that there are about 42 border markets and 44 loading points in the major market corridors across Nigeria through which traders carry on informal trading activities. The report indicated that most of the agricultural, minerals snide even manufactured products are taken through these markets and loading points. The government can start by reducing the amount of food through those points to increase availability and reduce the level of speculation”.

Speaking on the need for government to invest in research and development, Ajibola noted that a country that does not pay attention to research and development will keep searching for development.

They also encouraged the use of rail transport to move the products to avoid bottle necks of road blocks, bad roads which contribute to post harvest losses and ultimately increase in prices of foods.