Farming to banish famine

A programme launched by Osun State Government, Nigeria, has its focus on granting assistance in finance, materials and equipment to individual farmers and farmers’ cooperative societies with a view to boosting their scope of operation, productivity and ensuring abundance in food production and raw materials for existing and emerging industries. The Osun Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Programme (OREAP) has distinguished itself already by winning widespread acceptance by the people who view it as a step in the right direction. Read more here.
Osun Defender

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Harnessing agriculture for national development

In every democratic government, the legislature is indispensable for the development process . It further serves as a bulwark of the other two arms of the government while checkmating their activities. To contribute to the effective parliamentary support system in Nigeria, the African Leadership Forum (ALF) a not-for-profit organization with a quest for effective leadership, initiated the Parliamentary Support Programme (PSP). Agriculture being a major contributor to the Nigerian economy has over the years been affected adversely by poorly fashioned, ill-advised policies and development schemes which has practically resulted in a no-result rural development in the country. Read more here.
Timilehin Odunde

Analysts watch food situation in West Africa

Aid agencies and government officials remain on alert in West Africa, where drought, chronic malnutrition and poverty have led to devastating and recurrent food shortages. Though climate change does indeed play a role, food security experts in West Africa say families in some regions are simply living so close to the edge that even a slight weather change, a sudden price hike or a brief period of civil unrest can spell hunger. Moreover, according to most analysis, the real issue is not related to food production, but access to food. Read more here.
VOA

Food security: groups seek empowerment for small scale farmers

Small scale farmers comprise 90% of farmers in Nigeria. However, their constant marginalisation hampers their ability to actively participate in any development process in Nigeria. They have no means to verbalise their interests on policies and development issues. In addition, the tendency for donors to pressure governments to demonstrate participatory approaches to African development means that the terrain for sustainable development through small scale farmer participation has already been laid. The question is why are these stakeholders still being ignored? The need to capacitate small scale farmers with knowledge and resources will benefit the development paradigm in Nigeria. Instead of being mere beneficiaries in a system of exclusion, small scale farmers could bring innovative ways of dealing with food insecurity issues. Read more here.
The Nigerian Compass

Nigeria’s government to focus on farmlands

From contributing an estimated 80% to the Nigerian economy in the 1960s, agricultural production now accounts for a tiny fraction of the nation’s wealth. Alas, the rise of crude oil as the economy’s backbone left vast farmlands abandoned by rural folks seeking a share of the oil wealth in urban centres. Environmental degradation in various forms worsened the situation. Now, the central government has said that it will reverse the trend, repair farmlands and equipment and put Nigerians back to work on the farms. Read more here.

Modified Banana Could Cure Deadly Disease

An innovation by researchers in Nigeria could be a cure for the devastating Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW). International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) based in Nigeria announced it had successfully engineered resistance of the African banana using genes from a green pepper. Green pepper contains proteins that give crops enhanced resistance against deadly pathogens. It is estimated that BXW is responsible for annual losses in excess of 500 million dollars of crop across East and Central Africa. Read more here.

Nigeria: Gearing up to fight food shortages

State authorities and aid agencies in northern Nigeria are scaling up their food security and nutrition responses in the light of coming food shortages. Seven Nigerian states along with the neighboring countries of Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon received poor rain in 2009 and early 2010. Nigeria Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has alerted state authorities to help them prepare for shortages and is storing grains in its offices. Read more here.