…enlists rice famers association in to scheme
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has expended N55 billion to prosecute Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), a rice sufficient scheme it launched on November 17, 2015.
The scheme has entered the second phase, with the apex bank bringing on board members of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN).
Under the new arrangement unfolded yesterday, CBN credit facility to RIFAN would be digitalized both in inputs and credit facility.
Speaking in Abuja at a meeting with RIFAN executive, Special Assistant to the CBN Governor on Agriculture and Development Finance, Tunde Akande, said the partnership with RIFAN remains key, noting that it would help in digitalizing loan process for smallholder farmers.
He said the bank estimated that an additional two million tonnes of rice would be added into national rice production using digitalized mechanism which would be made available to RIFAN members.
He said the collaboration would help in monitoring farmers closely by ensuring they get inputs, extension services and other incentives needed to achieve bumper harvests.
Akande said the bank would partner with other commodity associations like maize, cassava, millet, sorghum and other staple foods to provide employment, reduce food import, boost export and earn foreign exchange.
“The ABP started in November 2015. Under two years, we decided to upscale it. We’ve decided to collaborate with RIFAN, but we’ll also partner with maize, cassava, sorghum, etc., using commodities associations.
“They have structures at all levels. We want to provide mentoring, extension services, etc. to farmers through them. We can now provide tractorization and all that.
“It’s about the loan being well utilized. There is a guaranteed market for farmers under this programme. We’ve deployed seamless technologies to them. We’ve taken their biometrics and we have their contacts. Days of taking loans and inputs without accounting for them are over. In no distant time, we will attain food sufficiency and even export to earn foreign exchange,” he explained.
Akande also disclosed that under the ABP, all loans given to farmers are mandatorily insured by the Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC).
He added that each farmer gets N250,000 to cultivate one hectare of land for the dry season farming.
Responding, President of RIFAN, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for launching the ABP in 2015, saying the scheme has recorded huge success.
He said that about five million farmers are to cultivate 200,000 hectares of land for rice.
“For two years, the ABP worked successfully as CBN/state governments’ programme. Now, it has graduated from government-government collaboration to government-private sector collaboration. We launched the pilot scheme in Gwagwalada, Abuja on Tuesday. Other states have launched today (Wednesday). It is tagged the RIFAN-CBN model.
“This collaboration is to put Nigeria on right track in agribusiness. Before 2015, it was operating on an analogue model, thus making monitoring and compliance very challenging. So, all that was done in agriculture was not detailed recorded.
“But with this, we’ve 500,000 farmers under this season’s farming. From this figure, we’ve 200,000 farmers for the dry season.
“With this new digitalized programme, I can, from my phone, reach all the farmers. It’s a global innovation. Farmers are now accessible, verifiable and the entire process reliable. Anyone coming to do business with us can access us and work with reliable data,” he explained.
Goronyo added that RIFAN has national working committees and six zonal offices and heads at both local government and ward levels.
He also disclosed that 32 states are currently on board the ABP, revealing that Benue, Nassarawa, Enugu and Cross River states could not join this year’s farming season due to failure to tidy up their application and documentation before the deadline elapsed.
“They couldn’t meet the time for applications and all. So, we’ve deferred their participation till next wet season,” he added.
Reps move to amend revenue sharing formula
The House of Representatives, yesterday, initiated a legal framework for restructuring distributable revenue to the three arms of government.
The resolution came following passage through second reading of a bill for an act to amend allocation of revenue (Federation Account etc), Act Cap., A15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to establish the excess revenue fund account and for other related matters (HB. 1277).
The bill was sponsored by Hon, Lovette Idisi (PDP, Delta). It came on the heels of criticism over the legality of the proposed withdrawal of $1 billion from Excess Crude Account (ECA), for the procurement of arms to fight Boko Haram. Leading debate on the bill, Idisi noted that the “allocation of revenue Act was established in 1982 to prescribe the basis for distribution of revenue accruing to the Federation Account between the Federal and state governments and Local Government councils in the states; the formula for distribution amongst the states; the proportion of the total revenue of each state to be contributed to the state joint Local Government Account.”
Bed sharing raises risk of baby deaths
Scientists have raised the alarm over the number of babies dying of suffocation, occasioned by an increase in the number of parents sharing beds with their infants.
According to the findings of a report published in ‘Paediatrics,’ babies are safest sleeping on their backs in their own cribs without any pillows, toys, blankets or other loose bedding. From 1999 to 2015, the suffocation death rate for babies younger than one year climbed from 12.4 to 28.3 fatalities for every 1,000 United States (US) infants.
Similarly, the study shows that in 2015 alone, this translated into 1,100 infant deaths that were entirely preventable.
The majority of these suffocation fatalities occurred while babies were in bed. Although, there is lack of data to show the trend of these activities in Nigeria where bed sharing between mothers and newborn is very common among low income and the poor, it is believed that this practice might also be impacting negatively in the country.
However, going by the guidelines from the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), if babies do sleep in parents’ beds, parents should have a firm mattress, remove soft objects such as pillows, and move the bed away from the wall, as part of measures to ensure the safety of the babies.
Similarly, the AAP said parents should also be aware that bed sharing is most dangerous for newborns, less than four months old, premature babies and underweight infants, or if babies were exposed to tobacco during or after pregnancy.
Study co-author, David Schwebel, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said: “It may be that parents are not following `safe sleep’ recommendations to place infants in beds without stuffed animals, soft blankets, pillows, and other items that could cause suffocation.
Suffocation and strangulation deaths increased across the board for boys and girls, regardless of race, ethnicity or whether they lived in urban or rural communities, the study found. At least some of the increase in suffocation deaths might be due to a change in how these fatalities are categorised, researchers note.
Some fatalities that were attributed to sleep-related causes like sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) at the start of the study might have been categorised as accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed by the end of the study period.-
Proscribed IPOB blames FG for members’ plight in prison
The outlawed Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) yesterday expressed dismay over a move by a lawyer representing Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, one of the sureties for Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in the ongoing case to release some of its members in prison custody to adjourn the case to a later date.
IPOB listed the members in prison custody to include Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawuisi, Bright Chimezie Ishinwa, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, among others.
A statement made available to journalists in Awka by IPOB’s media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful, the group noted that seeking another adjournment on the ongoing matter in court was a clear indication that the blackmail machinery of DSS and presidency was fully at work.
The statement reads: ‘We have no doubt that this adjournment was instigated by the Federal Government of Nigeria as another way to delay and deny justice to those who have now spent more time in jail than those convicted of similar offences.
“Information reaching IPOB now from Federal High Court Abuja with Justice Binta Nyako presiding is that Abaribe’s lawyer has written to the court asking for an adjournment.
“The Government of Nigeria has succeeded in pressuring Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe to ask for adjournment of the ongoing case of treasonable felony between Nnamdi Kanu and three others who have so far spent more time in prison than those convicted of similar offences.
“DSS and Aso Rock knew they had no choice than to release David Nwawuisi, Benjamin Madubugwu and Bright Chimezie Ishinwa so they decided to blackmail and intimidate Senator Abaribe into getting his lawyer to write to the court seeking yet another adjournment.”
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