From Gyang Bere, Jos

Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development Mustapha Baba Shehuri said Nigeria has taken steps to be among the world’s top three producers of yams, cassava, sweet potatoes and potatoes Irish.

Shehuri revealed this on Thursday at the first summit on the national potato and other root crop value chain, held in Jos, Plateau state.

The minister reiterated the federal government’s commitment to ensure the country does not experience a food crisis during the post COVID-19 pandemic and said steps have been taken to mitigate any negative effects that could exacerbate food crises.

“It is a known fact that Nigeria has a comparative advantage in the production of roots and tubers, in fact the country is the leader in the production of yams, cassava and sweet potatoes in Africa, currently the 7th largest producer of Irish potatoes, ”he said. .

“With these kinds of initiatives we are on track to be among the top three (3) global producers by 2025. The ministry is also aware of the huge investment opportunities that exist within the Irish value chain of Potato.

“However, there are some challenges such as poor seed quality, disease infestation (late blight), inadequate storage facilities, mechanization, among others, which need to be addressed not only at the federal level but also at the federal level. state level. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has made a strong commitment to address these challenges and has committed resources to this effect for the benefit of potato growers in Nigeria. ‘

He explained that some of the steps taken to address the myriad of challenges include establishing a tissue culture center at the Jos substation of the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) in the state of Plateau to solve seed problems, a 20 hectare irrigated land which is also underway to support seed multiplication and a 10 ton cold storage facility is being built in the station.

He said these were made in recognition of the Plateau State as the largest producer of Irish potatoes in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.

Shehuri recognized the efforts of other potato-producing states such as Adamawa, Kano, Kaduna, Cross River, Bauchi, Taraba, Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi, Nasarawa and Sokoto, and said the states are the main producers with a good and suitable climate.

Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong, who was represented by Deputy Governor Professor Sonni Tyoden, said the state’s weather conditions are comparable to those in the country, giving them a comparative advantage. to produce 95% of the solanum potato consumed in this country.

“When it comes to pototo, we are second to none in Nigeria and have a great reputation for producing this crop in large quantities. This international conference is taking place at a time when we have done our best to consolidate our position with regard to the potato in Nigeria. Jos Potato has come to stay and we will lead him to higher heights.

“We hope that after this conference the story of the Jos potato and other root and tuber crops will never be the same again. We are determined to improve potato production using modern technologies and to strengthen the capacity of our farmers to adopt modern methods of production, storage, marketing and processing. ‘

Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Dr Hosea Finanwail said Governor Simon Lalong’s administration has deliberately placed agriculture as a key sector of the state’s economy.

“Our mission as a ministry is to create and facilitate the development of value-added agricultural enterprises, thereby creating jobs, increasing farmers’ incomes, making food available and improving the internally generated income of the state.

“To achieve these mandates and goals; We have hired and deployed 400 trained extension agents in the 17 LGAs of the state, as directed by His Excellency our kind Governor.

“In line with the concept of value chain, where added value is essential, the ministry facilitated a tripartite agreement with wheat buyers, the Central Bank and landowners to stimulate wheat production. To achieve our 2021/2022 objective of 10,000 hectares of wheat production, a Wheat Production Committee has just
been set up.

“The choice of our state as the main wheat producer for the country is the result of the success of research trials conducted by the Lake Chad Research Institute here in Plateau State.

“In addition, as part of the potato value chain project, a suitability test for Solanum potato production has positively shown that 8 additional LGAs compared to the initial 9 can now also successfully cultivate. the solanum potato. Therefore, the need for this conference cannot be overstated. Because in the coming years, Plateau State will be visible on the world map of solanum potato growers. ‘

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