Nigeria Releases 18 High-Yielding Crop Varieties
By Adedapo Adesanya
In order to boost agricultural productivity in Nigeria in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari 9-point agenda, the National Varieties Release Committee (NVRC) has released 18 high-yielding crop varieties.
The unveiling of these new crop varieties is expected to favour farmers in the country, who will now experience bountiful harvest going forward and in turn, make food cheaper.
During the announcement, the Chairman of NVRC, Mr Oladosu Awoyemi, said the 18 crops were taken from the 25 submitted by researchers.
While speaking during the 29th meeting at the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) in Ibadan, Oyo State, according to a press statement from the Registrar of NACGRAB, Mr Sunday Aladele, the researchers were drawn from research institutions, universities and private seed companies.
In the statement issued on Sunday, it was disclosed that two sweet sorghum varieties (SAMSORG 50SW and SAMSORG 52SW), and four multipurpose cassava varieties (UMUCASS 47, UMUCASS 48, UMUCASS 49 and UMUCASS 50) were among the 18 approved.
NVRC also approved one poundable cassava variety (UMUCASS 51), two white maize hybrids (SC667 and SC419), one yellow maize variety (ILOMAZ – 1), and two pro-vitamin A maize varieties (SAMMAZ 59 and SAMMAZ 60).
Others were one medium maturing top – cross maize variety (SAMMAZ 61), two maize hybrids (SAMMAZ 62 and SAMMAZ 63), and three yam varieties (Dioscorea alata – UMUDa 31 and Dioscorea rotundata –UMUDr 29 and UMUDr 30).
The statement explained that the sorghum varieties were released based on their high brix content and high extract yield.
The agency declared that the cassava varieties were released based on high-quality flour product and high dry matter while the maize varieties were released based on high grain yield and excellent husk cover, tolerance to drought, low nitrogen and high pro-vitamin A content.
The three yam varieties were released based on the slow rate of oxidation, ability to be eaten in pounded form, high yield, and high dry matter content.
The statement disclosed that apart from the 18 released varieties, two-hybrid cotton were just registered by the committee to serve as a refuge for the released Bt Cotton.
Two-hybrid cottons were (MAHYCO C 567 and MAHYCO C 571) approved for registration only.
Developers of the 18 released crop varieties include the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Abuja, and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.
Other developers are the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, the University of Ilorin, the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training Ibadan; and Seed Co. Nigeria Ltd.
The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Kenya, Bayer Crop Science, Petit, South Africa, and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, Kenya are also among developers of the released varieties.
It also noted that Mr Awoyemi said the meeting was held once or twice yearly with the target of increasing agricultural productivity of Nigerian farmers through the provision of high yielding crop varieties.
Brent Soars on Iraq Supply Concerns, Ease in Banking Crisis
By Adedapo Adesanya
The price of Brent crude futures rose by 1.3 per cent or 99 cents to $79.27 per barrel on Thursday as banking crisis fears further eased and no resolution in sight yet for the cut-off of the flow of Iraqi Kurdistan oil to Turkey.
Also, the US West Texas Intermediate crude rose by 1.9 per cent or $1.40 to $74.37 per barrel as producers shut in or reduced output at several oilfields in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq following a halt to the northern export pipeline.
About 400,000 barrels per day have been cut off with the pipeline shutdown over an international arbitration ruling in favour of Iraq against Turkey, and this continues to put upward pressure on oil prices.
Likewise, fears that may linger about the potential broader economic impact in the aftermath of the failure of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank, as well as the share crash and rescue bid for giant Credit Suisse, and pressure on other regional banks in the US appear to be easing.
Also supporting prices was a Wednesday report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) that crude oil stockpiles in the world’s largest producer fell unexpectedly in the week of March 24 to a two-year low.
Crude inventories dropped by 7.5 million barrels, compared with expectations for a rise of 100,000 barrels.
These factors offset bearish sentiment after a lower-than-expected cut to Russian crude oil production in the first three weeks of March, as numbers showed that there was a 300,000 barrels per day production decline compared with targeted cuts of 500,000 barrels per day, or about 5 per cent of Russian output.
Markets are now waiting for the US spending and inflation data due on Friday and the resulting impact on the value of the US Dollar, which impacts oil prices.
Also driving oil prices Thursday have been statements ahead of a planned meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) on Monday, where delegates have indicated that the 23-man cartel will likely stick to its current production cut plan.
Despite the low prices prompted in part by the banking crisis fears, analysts noted that OPEC+ would stay the course and not react by reducing output further.
Nigerian Exchange Witnesses N318.52bn Listings in Q1 2023
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited witnessed the listing of N318.52 billion worth of securities in the first quarter of 2023, data from the X-Compliance report of the bourse has revealed.
This cut across equities, fixed income, mutual funds and derivatives categories.
The X-Compliance report is a transparency initiative of NGX designed to maintain market integrity and protect investors by providing compliance-related information on all listed companies.
Through the report, NGX ensures that it provides timely information to investors to aid their capital allocation decisions and enable a properly functioning capital market.
According to the report, NGX saw N11.23 billion in Federal Government of Nigeria bond listings which constituted FGN Savings Bonds with maturities ranging between 2024 and 2026.
Lagos State Government issued the only bond by a sub-sovereign entity with its N137.33 billion series 1V, 10-year 13%, Fixed Rate Bonds due 2031 under its N500 billion debt issuance program.
The corporate bond segment recorded N112.42 billion senior unsecured bond listing from Dangote Industries Funding Plc and N31.36 billion in Sukuk Issuances from Taj Bank and Family Homes under their respective Sukuk Issuance programmes.
FTN Cocoa Processors Plc and Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc both did supplementary listings of N850 million and N3.68 billion of shares, respectively.
Africa Plus Partners Nigeria Limited also listed its mutual fund, Africa Infra Plus 1, the first Carbon Plus naira-denominated fund to be listed on the Exchange, at a market value of N21.65 billion.
NGX also continued to drive participation in its derivatives market with the listing of the NGX Pension index Futures Contract and NGX30 Index Futures Contract.
Recall that the Chief Executive Officer of NGX, Mr Temi Popoola, had noted that the Exchange had a renewed focus on listings for the year 2023.
“We will be using listings as a vehicle for meeting strategic aspirations as the new dispensation comes in through increased advocacy and engagements,” he had said.
Nigeria’s Debt Profile Jumps 17% to N46.25trn in 2022
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria’s total public debt stock increased by 17 per cent to N46.25 trillion or $103.11 billion as of December 2022 from N39.56 trillion or $95.77 billion in 2021.
This information was revealed by the Debt Management Office (DMO) on Thursday.
This means that the country’s debt profile precisely increased by 16.9 per cent or N6.69 trillion or $7.34 billion within one year, as the government borrow funds from various quarters for its budget deficits.
The agency said the new figures comprise the domestic and external total debt stocks of the federal government and the sub-national governments (36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory).
The DMO statement partly read, “As of December 31, 2022, the total public debt stock was N46.25 trillion or $103.11 billion.
“In terms of composition, total domestic debt stock was N27.55 trillion ($61.42 billion) while total external debt stock was N18.70 trillion ($41.69 billion).
“Amongst the reasons for the increase in the total public debt stock were new borrowings by the FGN and sub-national governments, primarily to fund budget deficits and execute projects. The issuance of promissory notes by the FGN to settle some liabilities also contributed to the growth in the debt stock.
“On-going efforts by the government to increase revenues from oil and non-oil sources through initiatives such as the Finance Acts and the Strategic Revenue Mobilization initiative are expected to support debt sustainability.”
“The total public debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio for December 31, 2022, was 23.20 per cent and indicates a slight increase from the figure for December 31, 2022, at 22.47 per cent.
“The ratio of 23.20 per cent is within the 40 per cent limit self-imposed by Nigeria, the 55 per cent limit recommended by the World Bank/International Monetary Fund, and the 70 per cent limit recommended by the Economic Community of West African States,” the debt office said.
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