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HUNGER: AFDB Approves $134 Million Grant To Support Agriculture In Nigeria

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it is supporting Nigeria with $134 million for the cultivation of rice, maize, cassava and soybeans to boost food production.

Akinwumi Adesina, president of the AfDB, disclosed this on Saturday after visiting the Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA) at Bayero University, Kano.

Adesina said the bank would support Nigeria in cultivating 300,000 hectares of rice and maize, 150,000 hectares of cassava and 50,000 hectares of soybeans during the 2024 planting season.

“This March, the AfDB is supporting Nigeria to cultivate 118,000 hectares of heat-tolerant varieties of wheat and another 150,000 hectares of maize,” Adesina said.

“We live in an era of climate change and yet only 3 percent of African agriculture is under irrigation. We have to make sure we help our farmers with information that is timely and appropriate.

“We have no alternative but to adapt to climate change; adopt better ways of using water, particularly in the cultivation of dry land crops that are more resilient and tolerant.”

The economist said the AfDB would provide grants for the CDA and collaborate with it to become a centre used for the prediction of weather patterns and the gathering of information that would make farmers plan better.

“We will work with the centre to become one of the centres of excellence in technology,” he said.

“We will also support youths to develop their business ideas into reality with our 20,000-dollar grant on `Agri Pitch’ and `Agri Hacking’.”

Adesina commended Sagir Adamu-Abbas, the vice-chancellor of Bayero University, and Jibrin Mohammed-Jibrin, director of CDA, for assisting farmers with access to technology in the face of climate change.

In his remarks, Mohammed-Jibrin said the CDA is renowned for its research and teaching in development initiatives, focusing on dry land agriculture.

“The centre is dedicated to improving livelihoods, resilience and sustainable use of natural resources in African drylands through training and demand-driven research,” he said.

He said the CDA had received several World Bank grants for research and had so far enrolled about 1,153 doctorate and masters’ degree students and trained farmers in agro-ecological practices.

CDA is a World Bank-supported centre established to serve as a regional training hub for the West and Central African sub-regions.

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FG Vows Clampdown On Traders Inflating Price Of Commodities

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The President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s led administration has vowed to clampdown on traders, responsible for hiking the price of goods and commodities.

The government, through its agency, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, expressed displeasure, stating that despite the recent appreciation of the Naira against the dollar, consumers continue to face escalating costs without a corresponding decrease in prices of goods and commodities.

This was contained in a statement released by the commission’s chief, Adamu Abdullahi, on Wednesday.

Adamu added that the commission has been directed to intensify monitoring of both formal and informal markets, where businesses may be taking advantage of market conditions to unfairly inflate prices, and ramp up enforcement activities.

He said: “This situation is unacceptable, and the FCCPC is committed to protecting consumers from exploitation.

“The FCCPC understands the significant financial strain these rising prices are placing on Nigerian households. As a result, the Commission is taking proactive steps to address this issue.

“While the FCCPC cannot directly regulate prices, the Commission will utilise its existing legal framework to enforce fair competition and consumer protection provisions.

“This includes monitoring and investigating unusual price hikes, addressing complaints filed by consumers, and taking action against any businesses found to be engaging in anti-competitive practices such as price-fixing, price gouging or cartel formation.”

“The operatives will be working collaboratively with trade associations, farmer groups, and other stakeholders to identify and remove unnecessary barriers to entry in various sectors, combat price-fixing, and dismantle cartels. This will encourage increased competition, ultimately leading to lower prices for consumers.”

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Nigerian govt to sell crude oil in Naira to Dangote, other local refineries

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The Nigerian government has decided to sell crude oil to Dangote and local refineries to strengthen the Naira.

Gbenga Komolafe, the CEO of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, revealed this information on Monday during a briefing in Abuja.

According to him, Nigeria’s condensate and crude oil reserves rose to 37.5 billion barrels on January 1, 2024, with a 68.01-year life index.

“The commission, in conjunction with relevant stakeholders from NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services, representatives of Crude Oil/Condensate Producers, Crude Oil Refinery-Owners Association of Nigeria, and Dangote Petroleum Refinery came up with the template for the buy-in of all.

“This is in a bid to foster a seamless implementation of the DCSO and ensure consistent supply of crude oil to domestic refineries.

“The Petroleum Industry Act, PIA intends to make the implementation (of crude oil obligation) easy for producers and refineries.

“So, the answer simply is that the transaction currency would be in Naira or dollar. That is the simple answer.

“But we all know that if the transaction is carried out in Naira, that will free the pressure on the exchange rate.

“That will help the exchange rate. So that is the intent, and besides, the overall intent of the Petroleum Industry Act is to develop our midstream, which is a very laudable provision of the PIA,” he said.

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BREAKING: Wike, Atiku Meet At PDP Caucus Meeting Ahead Of NEC

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, are currently attending the National Caucus meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja.

The duo, who sought the presidential ticket of the party for the 2023 election, are among stakeholders at the meeting holding at Bauchi Governors’ lodge behind ECOWAS secretariat in Asokoro.

Details shortly…

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