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FG Mulls Commodity Board To Curb Rising Food Prices



The Federal Government on Tuesday hinted at plans to establish a National Commodity Board to curtail the escalating food inflation in Nigeria.

Vice President Kashim Shettima, who revealed the plan, said in tackling price volatility, the board will be empowered to “continually assess and regulate food prices, maintaining a strategic food reserve for stabilising prices of crucial grains and other food items.”

Shettima said this when he declared open a two-day high-level strategic meeting on climate change, food systems, and resource mobilisation held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Stanley Nkwocha, the VP was delivering his address titled, “Climate Resilience and Food Security: Nigeria’s Vision for the Future,” saying the two-day event attests to Nigeria’s efforts at mitigating the effects of climate change and ensuring food security for Nigerians.

The statement is titled ‘Food Security: FG mulls commodity board to tackle price volatility, others.’

Describing food security as one of the eight areas of priority of the Tinubu presidency, the VP highlighted ongoing policy reforms to ensure food and water availability and affordability.

He explained, “Our solution to the potential food crisis has become immediate, medium, and long-term strategies.

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“The short-term strategy entails revitalising food supply through specific interventions like the distribution of fertilisers and grains to farmers and households to counteract the effects of subsidy removal; fostering collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water Resources for efficient farmland irrigation, ensuring year-round food production, and addressing price volatility by establishing a National Commodity Board.”

He said while the Tinubu administration is fully invested in restoring degraded land, plans are underway to “restore four million hectares, or nearly 10 million acres, of degraded lands within” the nation’s borders as its contribution to the AFR100 Initiative.

Shettima apprised participants about the government’s handling of the security challenges preventing farmers from returning to their farms.

I wish to assure you that we will engage our security architecture to protect the farms and the farmers so that farmers can return to the farmlands without fear of attacks.

“We won’t only make it safe for farmers to return to their farms, but we will also ensure the activation of land banks.

“There are currently 500,000 hectares of already mapped land that will be used to increase the availability of arable land for farming, which will immediately impact food output,” he assured.

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The VP Shettima also revealed that the Tinubu administration is collaborating “with mechanisation companies to clear more forests and make them available for farming,” even as the Central Bank of Nigeria “will also continue to play a major role in funding the agricultural value chain.

He noted that the FG would deploy concessionary capital to the sector, especially towards fertiliser, processing, mechanisation, seeds, chemicals, equipment, feed, labour, among others.

The concessionary will ensure food is always available and affordable, directly impacting Nigeria’s Human Capital Index.

“This administration is focused on ensuring the HCI numbers, which currently rank as the third lowest in the world, are improved for increased productivity,” he added.

Senator Shettima also restated frantic efforts by the administration to make agriculture attractive for the teeming youth population to  “create between 5 to 10 million more jobs for them within the agriculture value chain.”

He revealed that the FG would do this by working with the current 500,000 hectares of arable land and the several hundreds of thousands more farmlands to be developed in the medium term.

These efforts, the VP continued, are part of FG’s bid to actualise Sustainable Development Goal Two of “Zero hunger” and the African Union Agenda 2063, which aims to transform Africa into a global powerhouse of the future.

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“But we can’t achieve this unless we guarantee food security by building the capacity of smallholder farmers who account for about 88 percent of the total food production in Nigeria,” he further noted.

Therefore, he implored participants, including development partners, private investors, and the diplomatic community to ensure that the high-level engagement results in a positive outcome.

Also speaking at the event, the National Coordinator of NEPAD, Mrs. Gloria Akobundu, said the programme decided to convene the stakeholders’ forum to strengthen smallholder farmers in Nigeria as a way of addressing the food shortage problem in the country.

“We have gathered key stakeholders from across Nigeria and all over the world to commence the resource mobilization conversation for smallholder farmers in Nigeria and Africa and emphasize the urgency of action required in the face of the current and growing food crisis,” Akobundu remarked.

On his part, AU Chairman of Food System, Dr Ibrahim Maiyaki, said Africa’s future challenges in the next 20 to 30 years could be tackled today through three parameters: the continent’s know-how, expertise, and leadership.

Maiyaki called for strong regional integration through food transformation as well as boosting of productivity and economic growth rates through the right policies and governance objectives

Other dignitaries who attended the opening ceremony of the high-level engagement include Chairman, Senate Committee on Cooperation and Integration in Africa, Senator Nasiru Zangondaura; Chairman, Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation, Senator Eze Emeka; representatives of the Governors of Bauchi, Edo, Delta, and Plateau States, as well as members of the Diplomatic Corps.


Nollywood Actress, Kate Henshaw Calls For Establishment Of More PHCs In Bauchi



Nigerian Nollywood actress, Kate Henshaw has called for the establishment of more Primary Healthcare Centres in Bauchi state to enhance immunization exercise in the state.

The UNICEF ambassador made the call in Bauchi on Wednesday while briefing newsmen on her field trip with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Bauchi Field Office to observe immunization exercises in Bauchi state.

Kate Henshaw, who was very impressed with the turnout of women for the vaccine in the state, commended UNICEF and the Bauchi state government for their commitment to fight malnutrition and improve the health status of mothers and children in the state.

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The 2008 Africa Movie Academy Award winner said “there is the need for the establishment of more Primary Healthcare Centres because I could guess that maybe the distance that the women have to travel in order to get care or to take their children could be a barrier.

“Also, I observed that the mode of transportation is motorcycles and I wouldn’t feel too comfortable carrying my baby on a bike going all the way.

“So, there has to be a better incentive which is bringing the care to them closer. Even if you will have to bring skilled workers to them at home but also make sure that they come to the hospital to deliver

“Bring it closer to them so that they don’t have an excuse not to bring their child either for nutritional stuff or immunization.

READ ALSO:UNICEF Urges women To Shun Home Child Delivery

“More of the community health centres and primary healthcare centres closer to the people is important”.

Also, Dr Rane Tushar, UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Bauchi commended the medical practitioners in the state for amplifying its intervention and sought for more collaboration.

He urged them to keep sensitizing mothers through their reportage, the importance of immunization both the routine and the periodical on their children.

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World Earth Day: Environmentalist Advocates End to Plastic Wastes to Save Mother Earth



In commemoration of the 2024 World Earth Day, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) – Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), has called for a drastic reduction in the use of plastics to save planet Earth from suffocation.

World Earth Day is an annual event celebrated April 22, and it is designed to shed light on serious environmental problems faced from the climate crisis to air pollution and deforestation. This year’s World Earth Day was themed: ‘Planet Vs Plastic.’

In commemoration of the Day, Dr Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director, HOMEF, in a statement made available to INFO DAILY by Kome Odhomor, Media/Communication Lead, HOMEF, advocated for urgent action to ban the production and
usage of single-use plastics.

Bassey, while calling on everyone to be involved in efforts to kick out plastics, urged humans to build a liveable future for humans, other beings, and natural systems.

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He said: “World Earth Day reminds us as humans that the Earth is ours to protect and preserve but over time humans have abandoned their roles in protecting the planet because of selfishness and drive for profit.

“We stand united in our fight against non-biodegradable waste pollution. Our addiction to single-use plastics suffocates the planet.

“Plastics can take hundreds of years to decompose, clog our water bodies, and cause harmful impacts as a result of their chemical composition. Sadly, the
world is literally a plastic civilisation due to a vested interest in hydrocarbons and ease of application.”

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He continued: “Now is a critical time to choose between planet and plastic. Good sense tells us to choose the planet, our Mother Earth that sustains all lives. A poor sense driven by profit urges humans to choose plastics because of the ease they bring, despite the harmful impacts on our health, climate, and overall health of the planet.

“As we mark World Earth Day 2024, the alarm must be sounded that it is time to uproot plastics from their fossil base or be ready to be turned
into plastic humans living plastic lives and heading to an infernal
plastic future. At HOMEF, we are all for the planet, people, and all
life forms,” Bassey said.

The Executive Director noted that research has shown that 380 million tonnes of plastic are now produced every year, while only nine percent of plastic ever produced has been recycled.

He added: “Campaigns around the world calling for a 60 percent reduction in plastic by 2040 are commendable and worthy of support.

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“At Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), we believe in the intrinsic Rights of Mother Earth and the rights of humans and other
beings to be respected and to live in dignity.

“It is time to build up courage and to preserve and protect our health,
and our livelihoods by embracing alternatives that are sustainable,
healthy, and safe for the planet. We must stop all forms of destructive
extractive activities in Nigeria, Africa, and the World.

“The Planet vs Plastics campaign is a call to arms, a demand that we act now to end the scourge of plastics and safeguard the health of every living being on our planet.

“We are submerged in a sea of plastic wastes, from our creeks to the ocean. It’s time we did better!”

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Obaseki Warns Against Open Grazing, Solicits Stakeholders’ Support



Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has said the ban on open grazing in the state still remains, warning that anyone found wanting will be made to face the full wrath of the law.

The governor said this while addressing stakeholders during an interactive session on the Edo State Regional Development and Benin City Master Plan, held at Iguobazuwa, Ovia South-West Local Government Area of the State.

Obaseki who reassured the government’s commitment to the safety and security of residents, called for the collaboration and support of all stakeholders to ensure a peaceful, secure and prosperous Edo State.

He said, “Any herdsman in our bush without permission is working against the law of our State, and anything that happens, they can’t blame anyone.

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“Let us be sure that nobody gives that person the permission to enter our forest and if permission will be granted, let us know the type of permission given to them to come into our bushes or forest to graze with their cattle.

“Open grazing is banned in Edo State. If they are in your forest, let us know where they are because we have police and vigilantes who will help us get them out through a number we will give you to call.”

Obaseki added, “Anybody that wants to do ranching business should contact you, the community people and you will decide on the land to use and method of feeding their cattle. They should do the business with you and not invade our forest indiscriminately as if there are no owners. The forest and bushes belong us.”

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