Farmers Online Market (FOM), an e - marketing online platform possess the capacity to create 22 million jobs by connecting Nigerian farmers to buyers of agricultural products across the world.
FOM’s Executive Director, Comrade Stephen Maduko disclosed this during the launch of the e-platform in Abuja.
He said the portal would create 2 million direct jobs and over 20 million indirect jobs for youths through the marketing of the nation’s agricultural products.
While saying that the greatest economic challenge in the country is how to empower the youths, Maduko called for government collaboration to ensure the success of the agro-marketing platform.
He said, “Nigeria is in a unique position to tap into the emerging global finance that would increasingly promote sustainable development through agriculture.
“We must act at the right time, and the time to act is now. If Ghana, Cameroon, United States, India are doing well in that area of exporting their products without rejecting their products due to the level of education of their farmers..., Nigeria can also get it right.”
"With a target of creating over 2 million jobs and over 20 million indirect jobs for our women and youth. We therefore urge the Federal Government through its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), 36 states and 774 local governments, private companies, investors, partners, international community, NGOs, and all relevant stakeholders in agricultural sector to support us and offer their services through these innovations (farmers online market) that would add value to the agricultural sector and would go a long way to increase the productivity of farmers and connect them with partners worldwide," he said.
He said, "with 14 million farmers registered under the e-wallet scheme of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), and with over 30 million yet to register or captured by the e-wallet scheme, the Farmers Online Market is in a better position in the right direction to provide jobs and business for our women and youth to be self-employed and also create jobs and wealth for others."
Also speaking at the event, which attracted officials of several government agencies, representative of the statistician General of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Mr Ichedi Sunday Joel, said the Bureau would avail the Farmers Online Market all the needed statistics to achieve its objectives.
In his good-will message, Director General, Consumers Protection Council Mrs Dupe Atoke represented by assistant director, Quality Assurance Mr Kelechi Kenneth noted that on-line business is an emerging business in Nigeria and faces challenges ranging from quality of service and products delivered through the online forum to the direct mechanism you put in place to properly resolved such complaint.
Also speaking, director general, Small and Medium Scale Enterprise of Nigeria (SMEDAN) Mr Bature Umar represented by head of ICT Ibrahim Abdulmalik said that they identify with the programme which falls in line within their mandate of developing and supporting small and medium scale enterprises through market accessibility and capacity building and will therefore assist the e-marking platform through the creation of a link in their website where visitors can easily access the platform.
The Director, ICT, F.O.M, Engr. Edwin Okafor in his presentation said, "according to statistics, 40% of farm produce in Nigeria are lost to post harvest losses. The online marketing platform therefore, was created to bridge the gap."
Engr. Okafor said, the Portal would enable the farmer know who are the buyers of a particular produce or veriety narrow down by geography, location, price, demand and rating.
He said with the site, farmers can negotiate with buyers well ahead of harvest periods; reduce last minute rush sales and post harvest losses; expose the farmers to the international market.
According to him, the site would connect farmers to banks and other financial institutions to access loans; farmers can meet local and international investors, partners that can invest into theirs farms for better growth of business.
"The purpose of the website is to serve as an E-market platform for farmers and Agro-based organisations in Nigeria to showcase farm products and services. The website will act as direct online contact outlet for these farmers. Enabling bulk buyers to view farmers' products, services, make orders and pay farmers for the products. This website will also serve as a tool for showcasing ASDARL projects, programmes, activities, news updates as well as events to the world," he said.
The Lagos State Government, on Saturday, January 16, appealed to residents and guests of Nigeria’s largest metropolis to remain calm, while assuring them that it is doing everything possible to cut short the spread of the disease in the state.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, made this appeal at a press briefing addressed by him at the Alausa Secretariat, adding that 92 people have had direct and indirect contact with the index case. They are now under monitoring according to international requirements and standards.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa has urged Lagosians to keep their surroundings clean and make sure they eat well cooked food. Obasa, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Musbau Rasak, appealed to Lagosians to remain calm, as the state has the essential medical institutions and equipment to combat the disease, and has put its health workers on alert to tackle it.
The Speaker urged doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to prepare themselves for the challenge of the disease, indicating that their swiftness in curbing it will assuage the fears of the people.
A 25 year old male undergraduate of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna state, who was reported to have fallen sick after returning to Lagos, was taken to Ahmmadiyyah Hospital, Ojokoro, on January 9with complaints of sore throat, fever, and difficulty in swallowing.
The patient was placed on admission for six days and was thereafter transferred by the private hospital to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) on January 14, as a result of the fact that the fever was persistent and his condition was not improving.
The patient was confirmed of Lassa fever on January 15 at LUTH, and is presently being treated, with reported positive health response.
Fifteen patients who were admitted along with the index case, as well as 25 health workers who attended to them, have been put on compulsory 21 days monitoring, while the phone numbers and addresses of the people in that category have been collected for tracking.
Government and policymakers the world over have been advised to re-strategize national policies to help farmers attain their potentials, given the role played by smallholder farmers in the economy.
A Development and Commodities Report released by the United Nations’ Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva, Switzerland emphasized that it is essential that the potential of smallholder farmers be harnessed for sustainable development.
The report emphasized that globally, smallholder farmers produced more than 80 per cent of the world’s foods in terms of value, yet make use of only 12 per cent of agricultural land.The report stated that it will take a fresh look at how policies are created and coordinated in order to cater to the farmers’ needs, considering the fact that global poverty affects smallholder farmers, resulting in shortfalls in poverty reduction goals.
Although there are differences by country and region in the size of small farms, research findings suggest that more than 90 percent of the 570 million farms across the world are run by an individual or a family, and they rely mostly on family labour.
Further research showed that about 2.5 billion people depend on agricultural production for their living.The report also said that smallholder farmers play a vital role in environmental objectives, including climate change mitigation, by protecting biodiversity in agriculture.
UNCTAD Secretary-General, Mukhisa Kituyi, stated in the report that: “It is now time for the international community to identify the key role smallholder farmers play the world over in ensuring access to nutritious natural food and the global food security achievement.”
Internally Displaced Persons are set to receive relief items as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has been directed.
The directive came from President Muhammadu Buhari as disclosed to reporters in Abuja by NCS Public Relations Officer, Wale Adeniyi on Sunday.
According to Adeniyi, a national committee has been set-up by the Comptroller-General of NCS, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) that would manage and co-ordinate the effective distribution of the relief items.
“It is important to stress that these items are only those that have been condemned properly in the competent court of law and have been forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“They include food items like rice, vegetable oil, spaghetti and essential items like soap, used clothing materials, mosquito nets, beddings and others,’’ Adeniyi said.
The committee is said to have members drawn from NCS, Army, Air Force, Police, Immigration Service and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He also note that “this time around, our targets are not the IDPs camps; our targets are the IDPs themselves who are in these camps.”
“We expect that the exercise will take a period of about eight weeks and the trip will start very soon.
“The exercise is going to be slightly different from what we have been doing before because we want these things to end up directly with the end users.
“We are going to be working with state governments, community leaders and other relief agencies to ensure that these items get to the IDPs in a secure and transparent manner,” Adeniyi guaranteed.
An outbreak of Avian Influenza has been recorded in Plateau state, Northern Nigeria.
The confirmation was made by the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs. Linda Barau.
Barau while speaking to THE PUNCH noted that ‘four farms had been affected while thousands of birds had been isolated.’ While she noted that there are efforts made to stop the spread of the disease in the state.
She said, “The state has been informed of the outbreak of the avian influenza. Already, we have identified four farms and all the birds have been quarantined to avoid the spread of the disease.”
According to the commissioner, the state’s department of veterinary services are to liaise with farmers in order to address the situation.
“We have taken steps to ensure that it does not spread. We also advise farmers to maintain a high sense of biosecurity. All veterinary officers have been placed on red alert to avoid the possibility of the disease spreading to other farms,” Barau noted.
Women-owned Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in ten countries are set to receive African Development Bank Group (AfDB) support.
The bank has approved the sum of $12.5m equity investment in Alitheia Identity Fund to invest in the following countries: Nigeria, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Malawi.
AIF is a private equity fund managed by Alitheia Identity Managers, a joint venture between two established women-owned fund management companies, Alitheia Capital Limited of Nigeria and Identity Development Fund Managers of South Africa.
According to Financial Sector, Development Department Director, AfDB, Stefan Nalletamby the investments from the fund will create over 12,000 jobs and over 50 per cent of the jobs created will be permanent. Furthermore, more than 50 per cent of the jobs created will be occupied by women and this investment will provide scarce medium to long-term capital to at least 30 indigenous SMEs.”
Nalletamby noted that AIF is expected to yield financial returns in high growth sectors such as agriculture, agro-processing, and manufacturing across targeted countries.
The fund is said to provide capital of between $2m to $5m to high potential mid-sized companies in target countries and would transform them into local and regional market leaders.
For AfDB’s Operations Vice President in charge of Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Private Sector, Solomon Asamoah ‘women’s financial inclusion requires bold and sustained action to advance women’s economic opportunities and rights.’
According to Asamoah, this action will ‘ensure that they can meaningfully participate in the economy without undue constraints and barriers that limit their progress.’
Southern Africa is in the middle of a drought that has been exacerbated by an El Nino weather pattern, causing about 14 million people to go hungry, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday.
Reuters, quoting the WFP, says the worst-affected country is Malawi, where 2.8 million people live and 16 per cent of the population are expected to go hungry. This is followed by the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, where almost 1.9 million are at risk.
In Zimbabwe, 1.5 million people, more than 10 percent of the population, face hunger, the WFP said.
“With little or no rain falling in many areas and the window for the planting of cereals closing fast or already closed in some countries, the outlook is alarming,” the U.N. agency said.
“WFP is looking to scale up its lean season food and cash-based assistance programmes in the worst-hit countries, but faces critical funding challenges,” it added.
The drought has hit much of the region, including the maize belt in South Africa, the continent’s most advanced economy and the top producer of the staple grain.
South Africa faces its worst drought in decades after 2015 became the driest calendar year since records began in 1904. Expectations of poor harvest this season could force the country to import up to 6 million tonnes of maize, over half of its consumption needs.
Maize prices in South Africa hit record highs on Monday, with the March contract for the white variety scaling a new peak of 5,106 rand ($304) a tonne, according to Thomson Reuters’ data.
President Muhammadu Buhari has called for greater global cooperation against the devastating effects of climate change, reiterating Nigeria’s readiness to partner with global players to combat the scourge, the Daily Times reports.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2016 World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Monday, President Buhari reaffirmed Nigeria’s readiness to work with the UAE and the rest of the world in a collective effort to mitigate the effects of climate change.
According to a statement issued by his media aide, Femi Adesina, President Buhari said: “Africa is already suffering from the consequences of climate change, which include recurrent drought and floods. In Nigeria, the drastic drying up of the Lake Chad to just about 10 per cent of its original size has negatively impacted on the livelihood of millions of people, and contributed in making the region a hot bed of insurgency.
“Desert encroachment in Niger, our northern neighbor and in far northern Nigeria, at the rate of several hundred meters per annum, has impacted on the existence of man, animal and vegetation, threatening to alter the whole ecological balance of the sub-region”.
“In the middle and southern part of Nigeria”, the President added, “land erosion threatens farming, forestry, town and village peripheries and in some areas major highways”.
“Constant and abrupt alteration between floods and droughts prove that climate change is real, and therefore a global approach and cooperation to combat its effects will be vital if the human race is not to face disaster in the 21st century,” he concluded.