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Women farmers decry low budgetary allocation to agric sector, call for review of policies

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Women farmers decry low budgetary allocations to agric sector, call for review of policies


By Friday Idachaba


The Small Scale Women Farmer Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), Kogi chapter, has called on the state government to review existing policies and framework on agriculture to fast-track the diversification of the state economy.

The spokesperson of the organization, Ms Halima Sadiq who is also the Executive Director, Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) made the call at a press conference on Wednesday in Lokoja.

She decried the persistent low budgetary allocations and equally dismal releases of such allocations saying that there had been fluctuating budgetary provisions for the agriculture sector in the state since 2016.

Reading from the release signed by Hajia Safiya Yahaya, state Coordinator and Mrs Esther Audu, Secretary of SWOFON, Sadiq held that the development contravened the 2003 Maputo Declaration saying there was need for review of existing policies.

“Nigeria is a signatory to the declaration and it promised commitment to providing at least 10 per cent of its annual budget to agriculture under the Maputo declaration of 2003 and as such upholding the commitment in this COVID-19 era is crucial.

“It is imperative that the Ministry of Agriculture reviews existing policies and prepares a coherent policy framework that incorporates the Change Agenda of the administration which will provide a good anchor and basis for budget formulation and implementation.

“If Agriculture is to serve as a means of diversifying the economy of Kogi State as promised in the New Direction Blueprint of the government, then allocation to the sector is grossly inadequate”, she said.

She added that there was need for rationalisation and streamlining of mandates of the Ministry of Agriculture to achieve greater value for money so that resources would be channeled to capital expenditure alongside salary payment and overheads.

Sadiq therefore called for at least 80 per cent releases across budget line items in the approved agricultural sector budget for 2021 and specifically, 100 per cent release of Women In Agriculture budget to its members across the 21 LGAs in the State.

SWOFON among others, called for enhanced legislative oversight to the sector, inclusion of climate change mitigation in the budgetary provisions, concerted participatory Youth and Women In Agricultural policies and increased funding for agricultural Finance/Credit as well as funding for extension Services.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SWOFON is coalition of women farmers from a across Nigeria working together to promote women-friendly agricultural policies and increasing women’s access to land, farm inputs and funding aimed at improving agricultural productivity. (NAN)

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Ebubeagu: Igbo Journalists hail Southeast govs, demand immediate legislative backing

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Ebubeagu: Igbo Journalists hail Southeast govs, demand immediate legislative backing

Prominent media practitioners under the aegis of United Igbo Journalists Forum (UIJF), have applauded the recent move by Southeast governors to establish combined security outfit in the region.

In a statement issued on Tuesday and made available to newsmen in Abuja, the Journalist group led by its chairman Comrade Emeka Nze also described the idea and resolution of the five governors as “forward moving”.

The Igbo Journalists however, spoke of the need for the five Houses of Assembly in the zone to immediately follow up the decision with legislative backing in their various states.

The statement further enjoined the governors and other well-meaning stakeholders in Southeast not to relent in implementing drastic measures that will bring an end to the rising insecurity in the entire region.

“This is not the time to fold hands and watch while a faceless group emerge from nowhere to kill innocent citizens.

“It’s our firm believe that if the essence of the new security outfit known as Ebubeagu is well carried out, soon all forms of criminal activities ranging from kidnapping, killings and armed robbery will become issue of the past.

“We will also want to enjoin Southeast leaders at any level not to in anyway contemplate, talk more of politicise issues bothering on security as no one knows who will be affected at one point or the other.

“We call on well-to-do Igbo sons and daughters to join hands with the governors in a bid to secure our territory. More efforts should be injected in the area of job creation and empowerment as means of engaging our youths in whatever positive venture,” the statement said.

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NCPC explores Holy Sites in Jordan for 2021 pilgrimage

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NCPC explores Holy Sites in Jordan for 2021 pilgrimage

The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission, (NCPC) Rev Yakubu Pam said that the Commission is ready to explore New Holy Sites around the world.

He disclosed this recently during a courtesy visit to the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities in Jordan.

Rev. Pam explained that the Commission has come to Jordan on a state of readiness and exploration visit.
In his words “We came to explore holy sites and we will need your maximum corporation to make it a reality”.

The secretary hinted that the President of Nigeria, President Mohammed Buhari has given the Commission approval to explore the holy sites in Jordan.

Rev. Pam described the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission is a body that is saddled with the responsibility of taking intending pilgrims to Holy Lands around the world.
According to him, “The Commission coordinates the activities of intending pilgrims from Nigeria to any holy site around the world, Israel, Greece and Rome including Jordan.”

He added that the Commission is mandated to ensure the safety of every Nigeria pilgrim as it is of paramount importance.

He therefore solicited for the support of the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities to facilitate the procurement of visas for Intending pilgrims because it is of utmost importance to the commencement of the 2021 pilgrimage.

He thanked the Minister of Tourism for his warm reception.
In his words “I want to appreciate you since we came here we have been receiving lots of cooperation from your people, we have not had any difficulties”.
In his response the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Nayef Hmeidi Al-Fayez who was represented by the Maanaging Director, Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat thanked the Executive Secretary and members of his team for coming to explore holy sites in Jordan.

He assured the Executive Secretary that the people of Jordan are peaceful and hospitable. According to him “In terms of security, I want to assure you that Jordan is very safe for visitors.”

He promised to ensure that the issue of visa is looked into as the outcome will be both favourable to Nigeria and Jordan.

Arabiyat assured that they would give the Commission the necessary cooporation as both countries have a good relationship with each other.

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Synergos Nigeria urges Kogi to implement Agric. Investment Plan, woo Investors

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Synergos Nigeria urges Kogi to implement Agric. Investment Plan, woo Investors


By Friday Idachaba
Country Director of Synergos Nigeria, Mr Victor Adejoh, has called on Kogi government to implement its Agricultural Investment Plan to woo Investors and boost agriculture development in the state.

Synergos Nigeria is an international Non-Governmental Organisation

Adejoh who made the call in interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lokoja said Synergos worked in the state between 2016 and 2019 alongside critical stakeholders to develop the plan.

He said that under the the aegis of the State Partnership for Agriculture (SPA) collaboration produced the document which now resides in the state Agriculture Ministry to woo private investments in the Agriculture sector to the state.

The Country Director said it would be great to see the current administration in the state display the political will to work on the foundations laid in the past to revamp the state agriculture sector.

“When Synergos got into the state, one thing we did was to identify the strategic leaders from the non-state actors and the state actors and we brought them under a platform called the Agricultural Vision Group (AVG).

That platform helped build collaboration in the state in a way that the efforts and investments of government in that sector saw people working together to address a common issue which was how to increase farmers income and improve their livelihood.

He said that the organisation also supported government to set up a Core Delivery Team (CDT) which was able to organise all those critical to policy development and implementation.

Adejoh therefore, advised the state to revitalise the Core Delivery Team (CDT) and strengthen the Agricultural Vision Group (AVG) which was made up of government and non-government actors including the Civil Society, financial institutions, private sector investors and input providers.

The Country Director said that by reactivating and revitalising the initiatives, government stood to benefit a lot from the revenue that would accrue from their engagements and bridging of gaps.

“At a point in time in the history of Nigeria and in the history of the world, Kogi State ranked the highest producer of cassava and sometime between 2015 and 2019, Kogi State also accounted for the highest production of cashew nuts in the country.

“If you understand Kogi State very well, stakeholders both state and non-state actors had been working in different directions until 2016.

“So, when Synergos got into the state, one thing we did was to identify the strategic leaders from the non-state actors and the state actors and we brought them under the AVG platform.

He urged Kogi government to return the state back to its place of recognition especially with crops of comparative advantage especially, Cassava and Cashew. (NAN)

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