Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Rainfall: FCT farmers predict bountiful harvest

 Some farmers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) said there would be a bountiful harvest in 2016 farming season, following the current adequate rainfall in the territory.

Patronise indigenous Agro Dealers, FG urges

 Mr Godwin Akandu, President, Etche Farmers Association, on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to enhance participation of Indigenous Agro Dealers in the forthcoming launching of agro products distribution.

Akandu, who  made the call in Port Harcourt, said that Rivers indigenous suppliers, who participated in the 2014 wet season agro products distribution, were still being owed by the Federal Government.
According to him, non payment of indigenous fertiliser suppliers in the state would hinder their participation as the Federal Government announces plans to launch 2016 edition of the programme soon.
He, however, commended the Federal Government for its decision to pay-off debts owed agro dealers and called for a review of the payment process to accommodate Rivers suppliers.
Akandu said that 12 Agro products suppliers participated in the 2014 wet season distribution in Rivers, of which four were indigenes of the state.
"We were 12 Agro Dealers, who participated in the 2014 wet season fertiliser distribution in the state, only four of the 12 were indigenes, we are not discriminating, we are all Nigerians.
"My concern is that till date none of the indigenous suppliers have been paid, we don't understand the criteria adopted for the payment which has so far eluded us.
"Recently, the Minister of Agriculture announced readiness to launch the 2016 wet season fertiliser distribution, which eventually may exclude indigenous suppliers who are financially incapacitated.
"We are aware that the Minister of Agriculture earlier promised to engage only suppliers who have ready fund for distribution of the products,” he said.

businessmen urged to explore FG’s silo concession programme

Mr Michael Eneh, the Commissioner for Agriculture in Enugu state, has urged businessmen in the area to exploit the Federal Government’s moves to concession silos in the country.
Eneh, a former director in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, said the businessmen could use the silos concessioning programme to boost food production in the country.
He gave the advice at a zonal workshop on the concessioning of 26 Federal Government silos in Enugu on Tuesday.
He noted that the move to concession and put the silos to maximum use would further create employment within the agricultural value-chain and enable food security in the zone and in the country.
``The cost of procuring 25,000 metric tonnes of grains is enormous; Federal Government can no longer (cope with it).
``Do you build silos and allow them to (be) empty?
``What you now do is to concession it out to the private sector.
``If you are a grain merchant; you can go to Kaduna State or Katsina during harvest; you buy grain and store.
``After six months, you can recoup all your money.
``Now, government is now concessioning it to other sectors of the economy that have the capacity to utilise them.
``For which they (private sector) don’t even have the money to put up such infrastructure, because this is a major infrastructure been done by the Federal Government.’’
Eneh noted that the concession would improve food production since it would create off-takers that would buy and mop up excess food from markets and farms.
The Director of Food Storage and Reserve, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Mohammad Ahmed, said government had built 33 silos across the country under the 1987 national strategic food reserve programme.
Ahmed assured that the concession would follow international best practices and it would be given out for a minimum of 10 years.
He said the agreement could be renewed after the 10 years duration.
He said the plan to concession 26 of the 33 silos began in 2014

Hotelier calls for aggressive exploration of tourism potential to boost nation's GDP

 An hotelier, Mr Ini Akpabio, on Tuesday called for aggressive exploration of Nigeria tourism potential to boost the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Akpabio, who is also the Group Managing Director, Nanet Hotel and Suites, Lagos, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He said: ``The Federal Government has yet to see the need that tourism can take the position of oil.
``As a key player in the industry, I strongly believe that tourism can be used as an alternative to oil, if necessary measures are put in place.
``In 2014, tourism contributed 1. 7 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP, while in South Africa, it contributed over 12 per cent of the GDP in the same period.
``In 2015, tourism in Nigeria contributed about N1.6 billion, which is about 1.8 per cent of the annual GDP.
``I think that is huge. When translated, about 800,000 jobs were created for people that work in hotels, travel agencies and airlines.’’
The hotelier said that tourism could be harnessed to contribute more than 12 per cent to the nation’s annual GDP.
Akpabio said that tourism rebirth remained the only reliable means of repositioning the nation’s economy, adding ``a resilient economy can be built with proper harnessing of tourism potential.’’
He said that adequate measures should also be put in place for the protection of tourism and national monuments across the country.
Akpabio then urged the Federal Government to do more to boost tourism in order to create more jobs, generate more revenue, alleviate poverty, boost foreign exchange earnings and attract investors.
``Nigerian music and film industry are also huge potential that can be harnessed and turned to tourist attraction.
``These sectors alone can be developed and turned into huge money spinner for the country,`` Akpabio said. 

Tourism expert calls on relevant authorities to harmonise tourism data

A Tourism Consultant, Alhaji Yahaya Ndu on Thursday called on the relevant authorities to harmonise tourism data for effective development, management and sustenance of the industry.
Ndu, who is the Managing Director, African Renaissance Link, an NGO which promotes African culture and tourism, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said that the Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, National Bureau of Statistics and other stakeholders should provide accurate data to improve the tourism industry.
He said that the variables for which tourism and culture data were collected should be organised to highlight the importance of a databank in the Industry.
``Databank is a repository of information on one or more subjects in a way that facilitates information retrieval and for meaningful planning and budgeting.
``It helps to show the significance of tourism’s economic contribution which can give the industry greater respect from both government officialsand the general public.
``This prospect will also make a more convincing and persuasive argument for government to support projects and developments in the tourism and culture industry.’’
He said that a tourism data base would also be useful in the monitoring and evaluation of ongoing projects and budgets.
``We must have accurate information that will enable policymakers to measure the impact of past policies and projects, thus helping us know the extent to which the set objectives were attained.
``It will also help in assessing the likely impact of proposed projects and policies, thereby helping in making better decisions and good estimates regarding the current and future developments in the industry,’’ he said.
According to Ndu, ``the availability of appropriate data enables stakeholders to measure the contribution of the tourism and hospitality industry to the nation's GDP.
``With accurate data on the benefits of investment and promotion of tourism, visitor facilities and infrastructure, the industry will be able to key into prevailing global best practices."
Ndu added that the effects of regulatory policies on tourism business, value of partnerships, returns on investments in tourism development, and benefits of international efforts and cooperation would help grow tourism.
``Can you imagine what will happen if we have a data bank of the number of hotels, rooms available in hotels and the number of rooms occupied in ordinary days, special and festival days?
``Length of nights stayed, expenditure in hotels, transportation, food and drinks, number of festivals, their dates, durations, number of workers involved, wages, revenue received by operators and revenue received from products and services.’’
He therefore called on the appropriate bodies to take tourism data bank seriously for the development and growth of the industry. 

Nigerians must develop local tourism to boost outbound tourism - Expert

The State Director, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mr Louis Eriomala, has called on Nigerians to develop their local tourism to boost outbound tourism in the country.
Eriomala said on Tuesday in Lagos that Nigerians should cultivate the habit of visiting tourism sites and leisure centres to woo foreign tourists.
He said that if Nigerians would be more tourism conscious like the Gambians and the Kenyans, then the possibility of developing the sites to attract foreign tourists would be higher.
“Nigerians need to embrace tourism by developing the existing and newly identified sites, realise its values and groom it before thinking of attracting foreign tourists.
'' We should not expect to have bountiful outbound statistics when we have refused to patronise our own thing.
''We should not only focus on bringing in the foreign tourists for now, but encourage ourselves to visit sites and develop them to international standards.
''This will, on the long run, woo foreign tourists into the country.
''As close as the museum is to the people, they do not go there, and the museum is also meant to enlighten us about the Nigerian history,'' he said.
Eriomala reiterated that as a nation, we must realise and develop the values of our historical sites and all other tourism potentials. 
 The Jos Wildlife Park in Plateau on Tuesday replaced the lion its management killed last year (2015) following its escape from cage during a routine feeding.
Mr John Doy, the General Manager, Plateau Tourism Corporation, said this during the delivery of the lion to the park in Jos.
Doy said that the lion was got through a trade by barter with the Sanda Kyarimi Zoological Park in Maiduguri, Borno.
‘’We were able to replace the lion we lost last year through a trade-by-barter transaction with the Kyarimi Zoological Park in Maiduguri.
‘’ We gave them a giant eland which is a unique specie of an antelope in exchange for a one-and-a-half-year-old cub.
``The park also procured two jackals,( male and female), as well as a male python from some vendors last week,’’ he said.
Also, the Plateau State Commissioner for Tourism, Mr Peter Mwankon, said that the park acquiring a variety of animals was to boost the state’s internally generated revenue and developmental projects.
He said that the management of the park had put modalities in place to forestall animals escaping from their cages within the park.
Efforts were still being made to equip the park with a variety of animals for tourists’ attraction, he said.

‘’ The administration of Gov. Simon Lalong is poised to ensure the escape saga of last year does not occur again and more varieties of animals are acquired.
“The state government is also working toward getting tranquilizers in quelling animals when an escape incident occurs.
``Such drugs require some bureaucratic process to get because of its function,’’ he said.
Mwankon said that more personnel would be trained on captivity skills, animals’ husbandry and other related skills to build their capacity in discharging their duties.
NAN reports that a lion escaped from its cage during one of its routine feedings last year and it was killed when efforts to recapture it was futile.