The federal government has reiterated its stern resolve to ensuring that the country does not experience any food shortage crises this year and beyond arising from the fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s economic activities, and agricultural inclusiveness in 2020.
This was made known by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Hajia Karima Babangida, at the ministry stakeholders meeting on adoption and utilisation of orange-fleshed Sweet potatoes held at GMT event centre Osogbo, Osun State at the weekend.
The Director pointed out that, the Ministry is firmly committed to supporting the Agricultural drive of the government of the day, especially among the smallholder farmers, processors and other Value Chain Actors.
According to her, “it has come to the knowledge of the Ministry the immense Wealth and Health benefits in Potato production, especially Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) and as such the Ministry is willing to explore these opportunities within the Value Chain in furtherance to achieving food nutrition and security for our beloved country.”
She, however, explained that the stakeholder workshop is to create a forum for the stakeholders/major actors in the Potato Value Chain to chart a way forward for the realization of the fullest potentials locked up in Potato Production, Processing/utilisation and Marketing.
“In making it a reality, the Ministry is willing to contribute to the development of the Potato Value Chain through its various Agencies and Research institutes with mandates on rendering technical support.”
“The Ministry has quite a number of support services that farmers and processors can benefit from. Farm inputs such as agrochemicals, farm equipment and machinery are available at subsidized rates at the Ministry.”
Hajia Babangida who argued that several challenges have been identified in the Potato Value Chain; right from the seed system protocols to the marketing of the produce, remarked that the challenges are quite enormous, but however, not one that is insurmountable.
“Therefore, all hands must be on deck to achieving this feat. There is no formal seed system for Potato, and it’s been a major drawback in the development of the Value Chain in the country.”
The Director, however, charged various Research Institutes, Agencies and Development partners with mandates on the Potato to work assiduously in creating solutions to the numerous challenges besetting the Value Chain, as well as new technologies and innovations to further improve production.
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