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Editorials: Nigeria Should Support Rice Farmers Before Stoping Importation

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SOURCE CRED- Jeremy Weate:Flickr, CC BY-ND - Rice Farmers

Rice Farmers – Nigeria spends an average of US $22 billion (₦7.92trn) each year on food imports. Its major food imports include wheat, sugar and fish.

Another big import, rice, accounts for about US$1.65 billion, or ₦0.59trn. Most of the country’s rice is imported from Thailand and India. This has led analysts to predict it will be the world’s second largest importer of rice after China in 2019.

SOURCE CRED- Jeremy Weate:Flickr, CC BY-ND - Rice Farmers

There are a few reasons that Nigeria’s demand for rice is so high. Among them is rapid urbanisation; people who arrive in cities and seek out cheap, nutritious, filling food invariably turn to rice. More traditional coarse grains like sorghum and millet have become less popular over the years. This, according to research, is because rice is “a more convenient and easy staple to prepare compared to other traditional cereals across income levels in the urban areas”.

Now Nigeria’s government is trying to stem the tide of imported rice. Towards the end of 2018 it announced its intention to halt rice imports entirely. In doing so, it hopes to save a great deal of money. But is this plan realistic?

Unfortunately, it’s not. Nigeria’s agricultural sector simply isn’t equipped to produce the amount of rice to meet demand. It is battling natural and climatic factors, a lack of funding and training for farmers, and a dearth of government support.

To turn this around, the government needs to invest heavily in rice farmers.

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Barriers Facing Rice Farmers & the Country

In theory, Nigeria could be growing most or even all of its own rice. There are 82 million hectares of arable land across the country; five million hectares are suitable for growing rice.

But only about 3.2 million hectares are being used for growing rice; collectively these produce 3.7 metric tons per year and that rice meets about 50% of domestic rice demand.

There are a number of issues that Nigeria will need to address in its agricultural and related sectors to improve the situation. This has been outlined in several pieces of research, most recently in a report titled “Incentivising Adoption of Climate-smart Practices in Cereals Production in Nigeria: Socio-cultural and Economic Diagnosis”.

Some are natural factors, among them changing climates, weeds, pests and diseases. These of course affect farmers all over the world; the problem is that Nigeria lacks the infrastructure (like irrigation facilities) and planning to mitigate these realities.

Money is another big issue. Rice farmers in Nigeria have limited access to credit facilities. Those who do obtain loans often default on repayments, and are not able to use the money to build their enterprises. Furthermore, rice farming is an expensive business: machinery, seeds, fertilisers and other agro-chemicals cost a great deal of money.

These factors leave many, especially small-scale, rice farmers in Nigeria living below the poverty line.

The country’s land tenure system is another barrier to farmers’ success. Guaranteed sustainable access to land in Nigeria is mostly by inheritance. Hence, when the initial owner dies, the land is shared among the children of the deceased; thereby breaking, in most cases, vast plantations into pieces. This leaves farmers with small, fragmented spaces in which to try and grow rice.

Nigeria also hasn’t invested enough in training farmers. There’s a lack of knowledge about how to use pesticides and herbicides; how to handle rice once it’s been harvested; and how to market one’s produce. And traders are reluctant to go out and purchase produce from rice farms in the country’s rural areas, because the state of the roads is so bad.

Mechanisation is rare. This is partly because it costs so much money, and partly because farmers tend to stubbornly stick to the old ways of doing things. The average Nigerian rice farmer depends on rudimentary and time consuming crude tools like hoes, slashers, sickles, axes and rakes for various farm operations.

EDITORIALS BY: THE COn

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‘The Milkmaid’ Wins Big at the 2020 Africa Movie Academy Awards

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AMAA Awards

‘The Milkmaid’ Directed by Desmond Ovbiagele on Sunday emerged the the biggest winner of the night for the 2020, Africa Movie Academy Awards, taking home five wins out of eight nominations.

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Lesotho’s Oscars 2020 submission, ‘This Is Not a Burial, It’s A Resurrection’ directed Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese followed closely as it grabbed four wins.

The first-ever virtual Africa Movie Academy Awards, hosted by actor, Lorenzo Menakaya, held on December 20, 2020

It was also a history making night for Haitian actor, Jimmy Jean Louis who won the Best Actor category for his role in ‘Desrances’ which is his first AMAA win after multiple nominations

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Desmond Ovbiagele’s ‘The Milkmaid’ Emerges as Nigeria’s Official Oscar Submission for 2021

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Nigeria's Official Selection Committee (For the Academy Awards® IFF Submissions) has confirmed Desmond Ovbiagele's 'The Milkmaid' as Nigeria's official 2021 submission.

Nigeria’s Official Selection Committee (For the Academy Awards® IFF Submissions) has confirmed Desmond Ovbiagele’s ‘The Milkmaid’ as Nigeria’s official 2021 submission.

The selection committee confirmed this on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 while revealing that it beat three other films in the final voting stage.

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Contending films include ‘Ibi’ (The Birth), ‘Voiceless’, ‘Eyimofe’, ‘Sanitation Day’ and the Mo Abudu produced ‘Oloture’.

‘The Milkmaid’ explores the harsh reality of insurgency in Northern Nigeria using the story of two Fulani sisters, Aisha and Zainab who get kidnapped by insurgents. It stars Anthonieta Kalunta, Maryam Booth, and Gambo Usman Kona.

Already a trendsetter, ‘The Milkmaid’ has eight nominations at this year’s Africa Movie Academy Awards including the Best film category.

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” Money Based Politics ” – the Main Cause of Corruption in Nigeria – Sultan Reveals

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Money Based Politics - the Main Cause of Corruption in Nigeria - Sultan Reveals

Sultan of Sokoto Reveals Causes of Corruption in Nigeria – citing ” Money Based Politics ” as the root cause

Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, said on Saturday, identified money based politics as a major factor responsible for unprecedented corruption and bad governance in Nigeria.

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Money Based Politics - the Main Cause of Corruption in Nigeria - Sultan Reveals

CAPTION: The Sultan of Sokoto IN one of his Public Outings – Citing ” Money Based Politics ” – the Main Cause of Corruption in Nigeria – Sultan Reveals PHOTO CRED: MyNationNews

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The theme of the convention was, “The Muslim Voice on Good Governance in Nigeria”, NPBS reports.

He regretted that the nation’s political culture had deteriorated and become increasingly mercantile, where money becomes everything, saying “we cannot allow full reins to money politics and expect corruption to go away.

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“This is partly responsible for bad governance that has characterised our polity, subverting our development, perpetrating poverty and eliciting the unending social conflicts.

“This money based politics will continue to fuel the unprecedented corruption we see in our society; as a result of these our pristine values as people have been supplanted and our future thrown into jeopardy.

“All leaders, political, spiritual and traditional need to come together to salvage our polity from dangers that the current political culture poses.

“The consequences of ignoring these standards are already showing and we must not wait until the bubbles busts,” Abubakar said.

The Sultan admonished leaders at all levels to take issues of leadership seriously, saying “we cannot ignore centuries old wisdom which places high premium on leadership and places criteria for shouldering responsibilities.”

He said that in Islam, leadership was fundamental and it was bestowed at every level as a trust from Allah and for which Allah would hold those entrusted to account.

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The #COVID19Nigeria situation report for 21st July, 2020 has been published. Our daily reports provide a summary of the epidemiological situation & response activities in Nigeria

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"Also found worthy of honour was Bashir Abubakar, an Asst Comptroller-General of Customs, who rejected a bribe of $412,000 per container offered him by drug traffickers seeking to bring 40 containers of Tramadol into Nigeria. A fine example of incorruptibility, worthy of emulation"

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