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23 Oct 2015

Tomato growers lose N1 billion in Kano

Tomato growers in Kano state have lost over N1 billion this dry season farming following the recent closure of Tiga dam by the Hadeja-Jama’are River Basin Development Authority (HJRBDA).

The Secretary General of the Tomato Growers Association of Nigeria (TOGAN) Sani Danladi-Yadakwari disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano on Monday.

According to him, the closure of the water from the dam which is the main source of water for irrigation activities at all irrigation sites in the state, had negatively affected tomato production this irrigation season by 60 per cent.

“Kano State is producing over 400, 000 metric tons of tomato every dry season because farmers cultivate over 2, 000 hectares of irrigable land.“So with the recent closure of the dam by Hadeja-Jama’are River Basin Development Authority, has affected 60, 000 of our production due to drought, “he said.

According to him, tomato growers in the state had lost 250, 000 tons of the commodity which represents 60 per cent of their total production.He said the water which was closed for over 40 days would affect bumper harvest of the commodity as most of the tomato farms had experienced serious water shortage during the period.

“Many of our members had planted the tomato when suddenly the HJRBDA closed the dam and the closure had affected our farms.

He, therefore, advised the authority to always notify critical holders whenever they wanted to conduct maintenance of facilities at the dam site to avoid a repeat of similar problem.“The authority should have given us and all other irrigation farmers three weeks’ notice before the commencement of maintenance at the dam.

“But they did not tell us until after they started the work and the closure had affected many tomato farms at Kura, Garunmalam, Bunkure and some parts of Rano irrigation sites,”he said.

According to him, the association had written to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, over the issue with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem.

When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the Hadeja-Jama’are River Basin Development Authority (HJRBDA), Salisu Baba-Hamza said the Authority had contacted Chairman and Secretary of the water users association before the commencement of the maintenance at the dam.

In addition, he said, the management of the HJRBDA had sponsored jingles announcement for one week on some Radio stations before the repairs of the affected place was started at the dam. According to him, the repairs of the affected place was necessary in order to avoid possible collapse of the embankment of the dam.

“What happened was that the outlet of Tiga dam which supply water to the channels collapses and water was going through a place where it could affect the embankment of the dam.

“The project Manager reported the issue and management had to close the outlet in order to effect repairs of the affected area.“So, it is not true that the farmers were not contacted before the closure of the dam,” he said.

(NAN)

22 Oct 2015

Kogi launches online agric market for farmers

The Federal Government says it is planning to increase the number of farmers under insurance coverage from 500,000 to 3.8 million through the recently launched index-based agricultural insurance scheme.

Managing Director of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Aliyu Abdulhameed, said the organisation was partnering the Royal Exchange Assurance, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and Cellulant for the development of a technology-driven Hybrid Index Insurance product that will include the area yield index, weather index and price index insurance.

Abdulhammed said that the four agencies would also develop insurance schemes to help end the persistent farmer-herder clashes, noting that the agency’s operations were anchored on five pillars.

“These are risk sharing facility pillar ($300 million), insurance pillar ($30 million), technical assistance pillar ($60 million), rating pillar ($10 million) and incentives pillar ($100 million),” he noted,” Abdulhameed who was speaking at a forum on insurance in Abuja said.

While stating that his organisation was not mandated to provide insurance services, Abdulhameed said that the organisation was concerned about developing effective agricultural insurance products for agricultural value chain players as well as providing a linkage between insurance products and agricultural loans.

“In our quest to build a viable and sustainable agro economy where smallholder farm yields are guaranteed, and projected incomes protected, NIRSAL, throughout 2017, worked with a consortium of underwriters (NAIC, Leadway, IGI, AXA Mansard) to develop the Area Yield Index Insurance (AYII) product,” he said.

The NIRSAL boss said with support from the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), the insurance roadmap that covered risks such as disease, weather, natural disasters and several other external factors was launched, adding that over 25,000 smallholder farmers had subscribed to it since it was launched six months ago.

Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari, noted that the partnership between NAICOM and NIRSAL had been very successful, adding that product approval had been granted to five companies participating in the pilot scheme, with the number expected to grow to 20 in the future.