Letter to the Editor
The black market for weapons in the North East Nigeria is obviously closing. Somebody wants to keep the bloody business in motion. So the evil agents have shopped for another nonentity, empower him to group and gather foot soldiers to start another chapter of security threat to the government.
South East Nigeria must wise up and rise up now. Nnamdi Kalu, like Muhammad Yusuf or Abubakar Shekau, is just another name. The real deal is in the lives that would be lost, many that would suffer, properties that would be destroyed all for the interest of some people you will never know. Never see. They are the people who gain from the trades of arms and ammunitions, contracts of military hard and software, bogus unaccounted security votes, etc. The victims of the fallouts of these machinations are the poor, men, women, children who are so far removed from whatever is/or are the interest(s) of the plotters.
Government on its part must not allow the same script of needless blood-letting replay itself. Please we are having too much already...
Usman Mohammed Chenche Lapai 07060815443 This shows the Auditor-General is not competent enough to discharge his duty. And on Buhari’s nominees we didn’t hear the name of Garba Mohammed Gadi, the man who led the President’s former CPC into merger.
Abdullahi Kabir, Azare, Bauchi state 08035686636
As the Daily Trust’s first Agric Conference and Exhibition opens tomorrow October 27 to close on October 28, 2015, during which the problems and prospects of agriculture in Nigeria will be discussed, many activities are equally taking place simultaneously on farms in the country’s vast agricultural belt; as the 2015 nationwide wet season ebbs to herald the start of the 2015/2016 harmattan phase.
In their numerous activities on the farms, the farmers will contend with the situations and realities they have lived with for generations, waiting for solutions and new ideas from researchers and those schooled in common and well-established modern approaches to agricultural practice.
While the conference on agriculture and its benefits is running at the Nigerian Air Force Conference Centre, the friends of the soil will be busy harvesting their commercial and basic food crops comprising paddy rice, white (cow pea) and soya beans, sesame, garden eggs, an assortment of roots and tubers, groundnuts and millet from their small farms.
Similarly, many peasant farmers, who dominate crop and livestock production in the country would be in the fields clearing their fields and evacuating the withered stalks of their recently-harvested maize, harvesting and spreading their red peeper on the shoulders of the nation’s highways to dry, ferrying baskets of tomatoes to selling points, and fervently praying for ‘bonus’ spurts of rain that could strengthen their sorghum and bulrush-millet to ripe fully for profitable harvest.
Indeed, many of the farmers while waiting to harvest their sorghum, cassava and a few other crops that usually ripen in the last few days of November or the first ten days of December are already busy on their farms, dividing them into appropriate planting beds in preparation for dry season cropping.
Some of the dry-season farmers will cash on the bodies of water trapped in burrows dug by road construction companies to irrigate their handkerchief-size plots; many of them will rely on the water in small earth dams. In this case they compete with herds of cattle for accessing and using the water for irrigation, as thousands more dry-season farmers struggle to rent plots within the country’s numerous large-scale irrigation facilities provided by government.
While the conference and exhibition are going on, thousands of farmers will be selling their harvested crops at give-away prices in oversupplied markets to get cash for inputs necessary for the dryseason toil, or just to avoid losing their perishables: they have no means of preserving the larger part of harvested perishables like tomatoes, pepper, onions, garden eggs, okra and greens such as spinach, selling them cheaply is the main way out of the dilemma.
However, the characteristics of agricultural practice in Nigeria, which may be assessed as basic in terms of sophistication and yield per cultivated hectre, do not prevent the sector from being the most consistently productive in the national economy. The National Bureau of Statistics said that the sector grew by 7.44 per cent and 9.1 per cent in the first and second quarters of 2015, respectively.
It is the strongest pillar of the Nigerian economy, the generator of the largest portion of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP): it contributed N46.6 trillion or US$245 billion to the GDP between 2011 and 2014. The Business Day newspaper on October 9th, 2015, interpreted the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report for the second quarter of 2015, and proclaimed that Nigerian agriculture contributes an average of 41 per cent to the GDP annually. However, Ecobank Nigeria said in its presentation on Agriculture in April 2014 that, after rebasing the Nigerian economy, the sector’s contribution to the GDP was 22 per cent in 2013.
However, whichever figure is used, it still dwarfs the 11 per cent contributed to the GDP by the Oil and Gas sector, which many people erroneously thought is the backbone of the Nigerian economy. However, it is important to note that Oil and Gas are the main exports, generating the highest hard currency earnings for Nigeria; and represent the main source of most Government revenue.
The four main agricultural activities namely crop production; fishing, forestry and livestock production are all growth areas. The growth was driven by 3.5 million new jobs created in the sector, increased credit to commercial agriculture and a US$8 billion foreign investment within the period under review, as reported by the Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM).
Given the sector’s status as the employer of 60 per cent of the workforce and its inherent elasticity in job creation, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration plans to ride on that to engage 20, 000 school leavers in each of the 36 states of the federation through the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP). In the plan, 18,500 university graduates would be supported financially to start agro enterprises.
Salisu Na’inna Dambatta is a Federal Director of Information.