The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in the framework of the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) will on Monday present a series of digital innovation tools in cassava and maize cultivation to policymakers in Nigeria to empower extension workers and farmers in the country.
Commissioners of Agriculture and Rural Development, Permanent Secretaries as well as heads of Agricultural Development Programs (ADP) from more than 24 states are among the key stakeholders expected at the official presentation billed to take place at a one-day meeting on the IITA campus in Ibadan on 2 December 2019.
The theme of the event is tagged: “Digital Tools: Disruptive innovations in cassava/maize farming systems.’’
Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, IITA Director General, explains that the institute is sharing the digital tools with state government officials to help solve the problem of poor extension services which is one of the major reasons why Nigeria’s agricultural sector has underperformed in the last three decades.
“Currently, extension- farmer ratio in some states is estimated at one extension agent to 4000 farmers,” he said. “These large numbers of farmers per extension agent undermine the effectiveness of the traditional extension system.
According to Dr. Alfred Dixon, IITA Director for Development & Delivery, “The objective of this one-day meeting is to share these digital tools with commissioners of agriculture, permanent secretaries, and other state actors for dissemination in their various states to empower the extension system and farmers.
“Through this approach, we hope that states across Nigeria will be able to increase their agricultural productivity and ultimately the incomes of farmers,” Dr. Dixon who successfully led the IITA Cassava Weed Management Project added.
In the last 5 years, the IITA Cassava Weed Management Project has developed integrated weed control methods that are helping farmers to double the productivity of cassava and maize. These recommendations are being scaled out to farmers through a variety of digital platforms in the framework of the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI).
The ACAI project has already distributed mobile phones and mini-projectors loaded with videos on the Decision Support Tools to extension agents. The agents, in the first phase of dissemination, are working in Oyo and Benue States using videos to educate farmers in rural areas on the Six Steps to Cassava Weed Management and Best Planting Practices.
“Engaging policymakers at this point will help in amplifying the use of these digital tools for the benefit of resource-poor farmers,” Dr. Dixon added.
The tools to be presented include videos, radio programs, cassava seed tracker, Akilimo, IITA Herbicide Calculator, e-commerce site and IITA News App.
Lagos govt. approves full reopening of churches, mosques
The Lagos state government on Saturday approved the full reopening of worship centres in the state.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who announced this during a briefing in the state said churches are now allowed to observe their mid-week services, while the mosques are also allowed to carry out their five times a day prayer routine, with strict compliance to COVID-19 safety protocols.
“We must not forget that the coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us, and we must, therefore, strive to prioritize the safety of all our children, teachers, parents, and the entire society,” the governor said.
Before now, the state had allowed for a gradual re-opening of places of worship as lockdowns eased.
With the full re-opening now, the governor has urged Lagosians to continue to act responsibly and maintain the required levels of hygiene.
Some other parts of the world have witnessed a resurgence of COVID-19 infections and rising possibilities of “hard lockdowns”, which according to Governor Sanwo-Olu may become inevitable for Nigerians if caution is not applied.
“Let me make it clear that if we do not continue to maintain our guard, and sustain the adherence to all required protocols and guidelines, we will find ourselves in a situation where fresh lockdowns are inevitable,” he warned.
“The only way to avoid this is to continue to act responsibly: maintain the required levels of hygiene, through regular handwashing and use of sanitizers, wear masks in all public places, avoid non-essential public gatherings, and maintain the prescribed levels of physical distancing at all times”.
The total infections in the country have now risen to 56,956, with 48,305 patients recovered and 1,094 deaths recorded.
At the onset of the virus in Nigeria, Lagos became the epicenter, gapping other states with its case load despite frantic efforts to curb the spread.
However, in recent times, other states such as Plateau have started to witness a surge with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 stating that it might become the new epicenter in the country.
Photos: Oyo deputy gov. donates patrol motorcycles to security operatives
The deputy governor of Oyo state, Engr. Raufu Olaniyan on Friday made a personal donation of patrol motorcycles to security operatives in Oke Ogun area of the state to boost their role of ensuring the safety of lives and properties.
Speaking at the event, Olaniyan noted that Security is one of the cardinal objectives of the present administration headed by Governor Seyi Makinde, adding that the government has invested massively to provide facilities and equipment for security operatives in the state to perform their roles.
Speaking further, the deputy governor remarked that ” In the light of the security challenges in the country, it is imperative that we support the government in tackling this malady. It was therefore a delight for me to donate patrol motorcycles, from my purse, to the various security outfits operating in the Oke Ogun area of our state.”
He stressed that security matters should be the responsibility of all and not the government alone.
Olaniyan, however , urged well meaning individuals and lovers of peace to support the government in creating a safe and conducive environment for growth.
Yorubas will resist arrest of proponents of Oodua Republic – Group
Groups under the aegis of Yoruba Frontier Movement (YFM) on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resist from using security agencies to harass, intimidate or arrest proponents of Oodua Republic.
YFM in a statement made available to journalists by its National Coordinator, Comrade Abdulkabir Adesina and National Secretary, Aderemi Adisa condemned the plan by security agencies to arrest proponents of Oodua Republic, saying that such action will only lead to breakdown of law and order.
The statement read, “We have received reports that there are plans by security agencies to arrest proponents of Oodua Republic headed by Chief Sunday Igboho. We are using this medium to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to order security agencies to desist from such attempts because proponents of Oodua Republic are operating within the ambit of the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The group wondered why proponents of Oodua Republic have become the target of security agencies while Fulani herdsmen and bandits have remained untouchable.
“We should even go down memory lane. President Muhammadu Buhari while desperately seeking to become Nigeria’s president made many inciting statements capable of bringing anachy into the country but ex- President Jonathan never ordered for his arrest. On many occasions northern youths and elders have made similar inciting statements and heaven didn’t come down. As a matter of fact we have been calling for restructuring of Nigeria for a very long time.The failure of government to restructure Nigeria is the reason why we are calling for Oodua Republic. Yorubas have suffered greatly since the amalgamation of the country in 1914 owing to injustice against Yoruba race in Nigeria. As a race we have every right to demand for our right to either stay with Nigeria or go our separate ways”, the statement added.
It further lauded Chief Sunday Igboho for taking the bull by the horn, saying that Yorubas are fully in his support.
“We are using this medium to call on traditional rulers, Obas , leaders and all Yoruba sons and daughters to support the proponents of Oodua Republic”, the statement concluded.
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