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FG begins yam production, storage centres in Oyo, others



The Federal Government says it is establishing production and storage centres for yam in many states such as Oyo, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Niger, Benue and Kogi.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, stated this at a yam stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja.

The minister, represented by a director in the ministry, Mrs Karim Babangida, said the ministry was already enlisting the active participation of state governments, youths, women and other key stakeholders to boost capacity and production in the sector.

He said, “The ministry on its part has included yam as a priority crop in 2020 fiscal year out of over 28 crops being promoted in the ministry.

“This year, the ministry has established an aeroponics system in Oyo State for the production of clean seed yam; established cold storage facilities in Oyo, Ekiti and Benue states; construction of modern yam storage facility in Nasarawa State has been completed.

“10,000 node vine cuttings and 80,000 clean foundation seed yams were distributed to elite farmers in Imo State while 75,000 yam seeds were distributed to farmers in Ibadan.

“In addition, the ministry has introduced dry season yam farming using Benue and Nasarawa states as pilot states while plans are under way to distribute seed yams to farmers in Kogi, Niger and Taraba for dry season farming.

“The ministry is collaborating with relevant Research Institutes for the production and distribution of disease free foundation seed yam and value addition. These efforts are aimed at developing the yam sector while cushioning the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.”

He said the last restriction of movement negatively affected the food supply chains, incomes and livelihoods in the country.

“Since smallholders are the most vulnerable, it become imperative for the government to bring together stakeholders in the yam sector in order to chart the way forward along the value chains so as to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is hoped that this effort and other complementary interventions by different stakeholders will make the government to increase the resilience of farmers and the national food systems in general,” he added.

“Understandably, therefore, if we must sustainably feed our teeming population of about 200 million people and our neighbouring countries that rely on Nigeria for some of their food requirements; the yam sector must be developed along its value chain,” he noted.

The minister, however, expressed hope that the suggestions emanating from the meeting would guide the government to improve more on the current attention given to yam development in the ministry.

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Photos: Kia dazzles Nigerian fans, unveils Sonet, Seltos compact SUVs



Lovers of compact sport utility vehicles built with sophistication in Nigeria have two new stunning products to celebrate, coming from Kia Motors. They are the all-new Sonet and the high-tech Seltos.

The two models assembled in Nigeria and unveiled in Lagos on Friday to the motoring journalists are expected to substantially raise the market share of Kia in the compact SUV segment, which is fast becoming the toast of many new car buyers globally including Nigeria, especially young trendy people.

Details later…





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Southern govs okay VAT collection by state governments



Governors of the southern states have agreed that collection of value-added tax (VAT) should be undertaken by state governments.

Chairman of the Southern Governors Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, disclosed this on Thursday while reading a communique at the end of a meeting of the governors in Enugu.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service and some state governments are currently in court over VAT collection.

Rivers and Lagos state governments have enacted laws empowering their respective states to collect the tax (VAT).

Last week, the Court of Appeal directed states to maintain status quo on VAT collection pending the determination of an appeal filed by the FIRS.

Akeredolu said that the governors affirmed that the collection of VAT fell within the powers of state governments.

“We resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the state,” he said.

He also said, “The meeting reaffirmed its earlier commitment to fiscal federalism and emphasised the need to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment.”

Akeredolu urged states in the south to leverage the competence of their houses of assembly and representation at the national assembly to pursue the goal.

He said that the meeting reviewed the state of the nation and the progress made in the implementation of the ban on open grazing of cattle in the south of Nigeria.

He said, “The meeting expressed satisfaction with the rate at which states in the south of Nigeria are amending or enacting the anti-open grazing law.

“This aligns with the uniform template and aspiration of governors in the south and we encourage the states that have yet to enact the law to do so expeditiously.

“The meeting agreed to encourage the full operationalisation of the already agreed regional security which will share intelligence and collaborate toward the safety and security of the region.”

The meeting was attended by Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos and Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta.

Others are Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun), Douye Diri (Bayelsa) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).

The deputy governors in attendance were Bisi Egbeyemi (Ekiti), Rauf Olaniyan (Oyo), Kelechi Igwe (Ebonyi), Ude Oko-Chukwu (Abia), Philip Shuaibu (Edo), Prof. Ivara Esu (Cross River) and Placid Njoku (Imo).

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Land Rover to expand Defender with eight-seater 130, showstopper models  



Land Rover is preparing to expand the Defender lineup, turning it into a family of vehicles similar to what it did with the Range Rover nameplate.

The expansion will specifically cover a long-wheelbase variant, an eight-seater 130, due next year to a posh, six-figure model in 2025, reports.

According to a report from Autocar, the first variant to arrive will be the 130, an extended-wheelbase version with eight seats and it is due in 2022.

An opulent range-topper is also expected by 2025, and will ride on the MLA platform that will also underpin the next generation Range Rover.

Land Rover already sells multiple versions of the Defender—the stubby but charming two-door 90, the standard four-door 110, and the burly supercharged V8 model.

The 130 should be at least 10 inches longer than the 110, with most of that length added to the rear overhang.

The Defender 130 is expected to only come in higher trim levels and should feature both the six and eight-cylinder engine options.

The US and China will be the stretched Defender’s primary markets, says the report.

The fancier model coming in 2025 will be based on the MLA platform that will underpin the next Range Rover. The MLA platform will support combustion engines, plug-in-hybrid setups, and electric powertrains, and will also form the basis for the next Range Rover Sport, Velar, and Discovery.

This would make a Defender EV possible, but the Range Rover and Velar are expected to have priority for all-electric versions.

The high-end Defender’s interior will be the major distinction, and Autocar says it will feature more vibrant colours and upscale materials.

Although the powertrain landscape will have shifted even further towards EVs by 2025, the luxe-Defender will likely still be powered by the six-cylinder engine.

A plug-in hybrid is also currently sold in Europe, and an evolution of this setup could come to the US as well.

An entry-level Defender 80 had also been rumoured to debut by 2025. It would have been based on the EMA (Electric Modular Architecture) platform, but Autocar reports that this model has been cancelled. That platform will be found in the next Evoque and Discovery Sport, but Land Rover has apparently decided to not move the Defender name down market, as a baby Defender likely wouldn’t have the higher profit margins that should make the 130 and luxury Defender worth the investment.




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