Farmers Could Rake N58bn Annually Planting TELA Maize—Researcher | Business Post Nigeria – Business Post Nigeria

By Adedapo Adesanya
The Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) has charged Nigerian farmers to embrace the N58 billion that could be earned annually from the newly released genetically modified TELA maize varieties in the country.
The Executive Director of the agency, Mr Mohammed Ishiyaku, said on Monday that the TELA maize variety would also safeguard maize production in the face of climate change.
He said TELA had shown a 19 per cent higher yield than the conventional maize varieties because of its ability to withstand drought.
“Farmers will benefit N58 billion annually if only 1.2 million hectares of maize is cultivated out of the 12.5 million hectares planted, as a result of its yield advantage.
“Farmers will save N26 billion annually on chemical insecticides used on conventional maize,” Mr Ishiyaku said.
He said that it was estimated that N268 billion was spent annually to purchase chemical insecticides used to spray maize in Nigeria and that will reduce drastically with the investment in the variant.
Mr Ishiyaku said that TELA maize varieties were genetically modified to tolerate mild drought and to self-protect against certain insect pests especially stem borer and fall armyworm (FAW).
“Adopting those technologies is a responsibility left to farmers who are smart and know what is good for them once they see it. It is safe hence Nigerian farmers should also benefit,” he said.
Mr Ishiyaku confirmed that the TELA Bt maize had been under cultivation in South Africa by smallholder farmers since 2016.
On his part, Mr Garuba Sharubutu, Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria added that all agricultural research in the country was tailored towards achieving the federal government policies and programmes on food security and sufficiency.
He said Nigerians had no reasons to fear any product from any of the government-funded research institutes.
Mr Sharubutu said this was because all necessary measures were taken to ensure they followed approved regulations guiding the research.
The Genetically Modified TELA maize varieties build on gains of a decade of excellent breeding work to develop drought-resistant maize varieties for African farmers.
Over 120 varieties are available to farmers known as Drought TEGO including SAMAZ 62 and SAMAZ 63 which were approved for farmers in December 2020.
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Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.
FG Approves Genetically Modified Maize for Open Cultivation
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By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has been urged to urgently repair the Celestine Omehia Road in Port Harcourt, the state capital because it would make life meaningful to citizens plying the road.
This appeal was made by a non-governmental and advocacy group known as Citizens Quest for Truth Initiative, which visited the place and had talks with some residents of the area.
The group said the road, popularly known as SARS Road, is currently in a deplorable condition, affecting the economic activities of the area.
In a statement, Citizens Quest said it decided to check the state of the road after some “concerned residents of Celestine Omehia Road popularly known as SARS Road, Port Harcourt” called its attention to it.
According to the group, “Omehia Road is located between Rukpokwu and Rumuodumaya parts of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The peculiarity and importance of the road lie in the fact that it connects four different communities which include Choba, Aluu, Rumuagholu and most importantly Port Harcourt International Airport. The road also leads to one of the international markets in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.”
“A young man by name Mr Monday whom we met at the middle of the bad portion, who selflessly helps direct vehicles to the right spots so as not to get stock, confirmed to Citizens Quest Team that the portion got worse months ago.
“One of the motorists, Mr Chukwuemeka, said the havoc the bad portion is causing on their vehicles is on the high side and implored the government to find a lasting solution to the problem. Other road users’ lament how the portion of the road gets their vehicles damaged and waste their time on a daily basis.
“Also, one of the Elders of Rumuodumaya, Mr Friday Nyesom Ekwe decried the neglect of the road by the state and the local government. He passionately appeals to both levels of government to come to their aid.
“A Youth Leader, Mr Ejekwu Promise pleaded with the Governor of Rivers State, to support and prevail on the LGA Chairman, Bar. George Ariolu to swing into action and have the road fixed as the road falls within the jurisdiction of the Obio-Akpor LGA. He was specific about the need for proper drainage as the absence of it caused the damage observed in different parts of the road,” the statement further stated.
Citizens Quest, therefore, asked the state government to urgently rehabilitate the road “to ease the movements of all and sundry” and further advised Mr Wike “to expand the road and ensure there is drainage to forestall damages after the repairs or reconstruction of the road.”
By Sodeinde Temidayo David
The Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes has called for more funding for the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in order to make the agency deliver its mandate and purpose effectively.
This was emphasized by the Chairman of the committee, Mr Suleiman Abdu Kwari, during the defence of the 2022 appropriation proposal by ICPC at the Senate complex in Abuja on Monday.
Mr Kwari noted that ICPC is one of the few agencies of the government carrying out a very special and critical national assignment and for that reason, is needed to be funded adequately to fulfil its purpose and responsibilities to manage corruption in the country.
The lawmaker, representing Kaduna North, pledged to do all that was required to ensure that ICPC’s budget was improved upon, and also advised the commission to remain focused in carrying out its mandate.
He also noted that in view of how massive the mandate placed on ICPC by its enabling law was, the current envelope system of budgeting would constitute an impediment to the realisation of this huge task.
In his contribution, the lawmaker representing Kogi West at the Senate, Mr Smart Adeyemi, stressed that it was imperative to allocate enough resources to ICPC so that it would enable the agency to expand its network in terms of physical presence across the nation.
Mr Adeyemi added that having ICPC operatives at the grassroots or at each senatorial district would aid in checkmating corrupt practices at that level.
He noted that the Senate was committed to supporting improved funding for the effective discharge of its mandate.
In his response to some of the issues raised by the senators, the ICPC Chairman, Mr Bolaji Owasanoye, explained to the committee how the commission was empowered by its enabling act to carry out a three-pronged mandate of enforcement, prevention, and public enlightenment and education.
He acknowledged the envelope system, and also noted that the scheme was a serious challenge, as the effort to fight corruption is being escalated.
The ICPC Chairman also spoke on the efforts the body was making to get critical stakeholders to own the National Ethics and Integrity Policy especially traditional rulers and professional bodies.
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has vowed to clamp down on federal government’s agencies and parastatals that have refused to file their Annual Financial Statement (AFS) as required by the law.
The council said it would continue to wield the big stick on such defaulting Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as necessary fines would be imposed on them.
This was disclosed by the Executive Secretary of FRC, Mr Shuaibu Adamu, at the on-going National Learning and Development Programme on Accounting and Financial Reporting in the Public Sector in Abuja.
He, however, expressed delight that about 115 government entities filed their annual reports to the council within the last year.
He said: “Between the end of 2020 and 2021 to date, a total of 115 public sector entities comprising of government parastatals, government agencies, and government business entities have filed their annual financial statements with the FRC.
“This is very significant progress. For those who have not filed, we have begun imposing fines and penalties on them in line with the provisions of the FRC act and its extant rules.
“Our experience from the review of this AFS filed with us show that financial reporting in the public sector is confronted with challenges and issues to which this programme is designed to address.
“Our various engagements with the National Assembly further expose the lingering issues of late submission of financial reports by MDAs, lack of proper treatments of accounting issues, poor disclosures, etc.”
Speaking further, the FRC boss said that the “public sector entities play a pivotal role in the national economy as a major driver of productive activities and the largest single business entity.
“As a bedrock of the economy, the importance of financial reporting quality in the national economy cannot be overemphasized.
“Credible financial reports are no doubt germane as they not only support efficient decision making by those charged with governance but also boost the perception index of the country and by extension, enhancing Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and Foreign Portfolio Investments (FPIs) as veritable tools and catalysts for the nation’s economic growth.
“Public sector entities are expected to provide financial information that is not only timely but is accurate and useful for decision making and most importantly germane to evaluating the government performance as a bastion of public accountability and stewardship.
“Let me use this opportunity to stress the importance of timely preparation, audit and filing of AFS and also warn against unnecessary delay in this respect.
“A situation where critical institutions of government, some of the apex regulatory bodies, are 2 to 3 years behind in releasing their audited FSs should not and will no longer be tolerated going forward.
“I want to therefore call on the National Assembly to make it a rule that the budget proposals of public sector entities in default of filing their AFS of the previous year would not be considered and approved for the coming year.”
On his part, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Niyi Adebayo, said a major challenge of financial reporting by public sector entities is the poor knowledge and application of accounting standards.
Represented by his Technical Adviser, Mr Kamar Bakrin, the Minister said: “This programme is therefore essential for government agencies and I commend both FRC and the Office of the Accountant General of The Federation for the creation of this forum.
“I have been informed that the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria has carried out a review of some of the financial statements filed with them by a number of public sector entities and a lot has been revealed.
“It has been observed that there is a lack of proper understanding of the requirements for credible financial reporting in the public sector.
“Some public sector entities still use the Statement of Accounting Standards (SAS) issued by the defunct Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB) as their reporting framework while others use a number of other formats.”
He described the capacity-building programme as FRC’s contribution to Nigeria’s economic development.
Also speaking at the event, the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, said that the training was aimed at deepening the knowledge of operators in MDAs and building capacity for better financial reporting.
Mr Idris, who was represented by the Director Consolidated Account Department, Mr Zubairu Salau, stated that it was hoped that at the end of the programme, participants would be equipped with the relevant skill to discharge their duties professionally.
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