By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has released a new rice variety known as FARO68 and 20 other crop varieties for farmers as part of efforts to make Nigeria attain food sufficiency.
Speaking on Thursday, Mr Oladosu Awoyemi, the Chairman of the National Varieties Release Committee (NVRC), at the 31st Meeting of the National Committee on Naming, Registration, and Release of Crop Varieties, Livestock Breed/Fisheries, revealed that the varieties were released to the farmers through his committee.
At the meeting attended by many agriculture experts, researchers, breeders, seed companies, and other relevant stakeholders, Mr Awoyemi said that a total of 25 crop varieties were submitted for registration, but 21 were approved and subsequently released.
He explained that the new rice variety was bred by the National Cereal Research Institute, Badeggi in Niger State.
According to him, the lowland rice genotype is registered and released based on its early maturity and high grain yield.
“Other released crop varieties include – three new millet varieties with high iron and zinc content; high grain yield, and presence of long bristles on the panicle, namely LCIC MV5; LCIC MV6, and LCIC MV7.
“Yam variety: UMUDa35-Delight; UMUDr33-Blessing and UMUDr34-Sunshine. These yam varieties were released based on high yield, good boiling, and pounding qualities.
“Six hybrid maize varieties, namely VSL 2201; PAC 740; SAMMAZ 69; SC 424; SC 555 and Oba Super 8.
“These new maize varieties were released based on high grain yield, tolerance to fall armyworm, to major foliar diseases, to multiple stresses, to Striga, drought and low nitrogen,” Mr Awoyemi said.
The NVRC chairman also announced the release of three new Sorghum varieties, namely SORGHUM 52; SORGHUM 53, and SORGHUM 54.
Mr Awoyemi said that the Sorghum varieties were released because of high yield and biomass, earliness, high Iron (fe) content and dwarfness and their tolerance to Striga.
Five tomato varieties were also released during the meeting; these were HORTITOM 1; HORTITOM 2, HORTITOM 3; PS TOM 1, and PS TOM 2.
According to him, the committee released the tomato varieties based on their “tolerance to fusarium wilt, Meloidogyne incognita; they contain good nutritional qualities and resistance to early blight”.
He said the varieties released were per with what was released in the US, Kenya, and other agricultural countries, adding that the exercise would make the agriculture sector not become stagnant.
Mr Awoyemi, who has been chairman of NVRC since 1991, used the opportunity of the meeting to announce his resignation from the committee due to old age.
The veteran urged agriculture stakeholders to continue to be dedicated to the development of Nigeria, “particularly in Agriculture, being the backbone of the nation’s economy.
“So, the frontiers of knowledge must continue to expand so that we come abreast with the developed world.”
In his remarks, Mr Abdullahi Mustapha, the Director-General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), said that release of the 21 crop varieties would contribute immensely to the development of crop sections for the overall development of the farming system in the country.
According to Mustapha, these new crop varieties, when farmers plant the seeds, will give them high and quality yields, resistance to diseases and drought, and free of other constraints. He encouraged farmers to ensure that they get the right seeds for planting.
Violent Protest Erupts in Ibadan Over Naira Scarcity
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
There are reports of a violent protest in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, over the scarcity of old and new Naira notes, Business Post has gathered.
It was learned that residents of the ancient city are venting their anger over the hardship caused by the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the federal government.
The central bank redesigned the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes and asked citizens to return their old banknotes because they would cease to be legal tender.
However, since the introduction of the new currency notes in circulation on December 15, 2022, many Nigerians have not been able to withdraw their money from banks, fuelling anger in the land.
On Friday afternoon, some residents of Ibadan, especially in Iwo Road, took to the streets to express their frustration at the development, which is coming at a time consumers have to queue for petrol.
They had bonfires on the road and disrupted business activities in some areas of the city.
Recall that today, the Governor of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde, announced the suspension of his campaign activities over the scarcity of Naira and fuel.
Also on Friday, the Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) met with President Muhammadu Buhari to appeal to him to change his mind on the Naira swap policy because of the effect on the people and the 2023 general elections starting later this month.
The President had earlier been asked not to show up in Kano State because of fears of a violent protest over the development. After the deadline was moved forward, the Governor of the state, Mr Abdullahi Ganduje, said he was safe to visit the ancient city.
However, during his visit to Kano, there were reports of a demonstration, with a chopped stoned by some residents of the state and convoys attacked by angry protesters.
The government claimed the protest was not directed at President Buhari, while the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said otherwise.
APC Governors Beg Buhari to Allow Use of Old, New Naira Notes
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to allow the use of old and Naira notes as legal tender in the country until the former is naturally mopped up from the circulation.
This appeal was made on Friday by Governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) during a meeting with Mr Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
In a brief chat with reporters after the meeting, the Governor of Kano State, Mr Abdullahi Ganduje, said after the request was made to the President, he promised to look into it.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last month redesigned the N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes and said the old currency denominations would cease to be legal tender from January 31, 2023.
However, two days before the deadline, the Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, after a meeting with President Buhari in his hometown in Daura, Katsina State, said the deadline had been shifted to February 10, 2023, noting that Nigerians had a grace period of February 17, 2023, to return the old notes to the bank.
On Tuesday, January 31, he appeared before the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on the CBN policy to say Nigerians could still take their old notes to banks after the deadline, promising that citizens will not lose their funds.
Today, the APC Governors met with Mr Buhari to discuss the scarcity of Naira in the financial system and also the lingering fuel scarcity.
One of the Governors present at the gathering, Mr Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, had claimed this week that the scarcity of cash and petrol was the handiwork of some elements in the Villa, who do not want the party to succeed in the forthcoming elections.
“We spoke with the President to allow the old and new notes to co-exist until the old notes die a natural death,” Mr Ganduje told newsmen while walking out after the meeting.
“Sir, did you discuss the petrol scarcity with him,” one of the reporters asked the Kano Governor, and he responded, “Yes.”
Oyo Governor Suspends Campaign Activities Over Fuel, Naira Crisis
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Due to the unending fuel and new Naira notes crisis rocking the country, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has suspended his campaign activities.
Mr Makinde is seeking another term in office under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He commenced his campaign activities last month, asking residents of the state to give him another chance to serve them.
But the scarcity of premium petrol spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, and cash has put Nigerians under untold hardship.
Governor Makinde, during the flag-off of the Omi-Adio-Ido Road on Friday, said in solidarity with the people over anti-people economy policies of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government, he would be suspending his campaign.
A statement by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Wasiu Olatubosun confirmed this.
In the statement, Mr Makinde, who was in Ido to continue his campaign, directed that all campaign activities be suspended until further notice.
Mr Olatubosun said Governor Makinde noted that the suffering of his people was too much, saying he was elected to protect their interests and well-being.
The Commissioner said his boss, in an emotionally laden voice, directed leaders of the party in Oyo State to suspend the campaign.
“As a mark of honour to citizens and residents of Oyo State, the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has directed that all campaign activities of the party at all levels be suspended until further notice,” the statement read.
“Governor Seyi Makinde’s love for his people necessitated this unprecedented move at this time. We urge all residents and citizens of the State to remain calm as we navigate through this difficult period together,” he added.
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