The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has stated that quality seeds are the bedrock of crop production that would ensure food nutrition and sufficiency, boost production and economic growth in Nigeria. He also stated that crops are very important for food security, job creation and the diversification agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s led Administration.
The Minister disclosed this during the Debriefing of Outcomes of Socio-Economic Surveys by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Partners in Nigeria, held at the Hon. Minister Conference Room in Abuja on Tuesday 10/11/2020.The Minister stated that ‘’ as you are aware, sorghum and millet provide a diet for most of the population who live especially in the arid and semi-arid tropics of Africa including Nigeria.
These crops are major staple food consumed by over 60 million people living in Northern Nigeria where it is mostly grown, whereas groundnut is the major crop for the production of vegetable oil and critical feeds’’.Nanono further stated that ‘’ the crop is widely consumed in different forms as food and beverage; having a good source of some very important nutrients as elements like copper, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium’’He said that ‘’the Ministry is making effort to strengthen the value chains hence it held a stakeholders’ Workshop on millet in order to strategize on the ways to improve production, likewise convene a stakeholders’ workshop on the Sorghum value chain and also constitute a technical committee on sorghum varietal Mainstreaming.
He explained that it will ensure that quality seeds are available to Nigeria farmers’’The Minister lauded the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Partners for its immense contribution in Quality Seeds for agricultural development in Nigeria.In her welcome remarks, the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture in the Ministry, Mrs Karima Babangida appreciated ICRISAT and its Partners for the contribution in the Agricultural sector especially on sorghum, pearl millet and groundnut value chains.
Mrs Babangida informed that ‘’ the ministry’s value chain signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with ICRISAT to boost sorghum production, commercialization and industrial utilization and processing, that collaboration has yielded positive results with the increase in sorghum production’’She stated that ‘’ in the cropping season of 2020, the Organisation supported the ministry by providing certified seeds of sorghum, millet and groundnut to farmers as COVID-19 Pandemic palliative. Presently, I have been notified that ICRISAT and its partners have conducted surveys on Adoption and Impact of Technologies and analysis of sorghum, pearl millet and Groundnut in Nigeria and Sorghum, pearl millet and Groundnut value chain Analysis in Nigeria’’.
During his presentation, ICRISAT Country Director, Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, stated that the potentials of the production, processing and distribution segments of the groundnut value chain, for instance, were enormous, they could be exploited by relevant government departments at all levels for livelihoods improvement and create job opportunities ‘’Dr Ajeigbe emphasized that ‘’ there is need for proactive measures of establishing sustainable linkages in the long run and that efforts should be intensified to increase the availability of seeds of improved varieties’’