The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has launched a five-year National Strategy on Potato.
Speaking at the event on Thursday in Jos, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, said that the strategy would run from 2023 to 2028.
Represented by Mr Abdullahi Abubakar, the Director, Department of Agriculture of the ministry, Umakhihe said that the move was timely, following President Tinubu’s recent directive on the intensification of crop production.
The permanent secretary said that the move would usher in an era of productive competitiveness in the Nigerian potato industry.
He explained that the essence of the strategy was aimed at ensuring sustainable food and nutrition security in the country
Umakhihe added that the move also aimed at catalysing the rapid transformation of the Nigerian potato sector into a commercially viable sub-sector of the agricultural value chains into a major export product.
”Our goal is to stimulate economic growth through various agricultural value chain activities, thereby creating employment opportunities and improved livelihoods for our teeming youths and women.
”Let me assure you that food and nutrition security is a priority for the ministry and we are committed to achieving it.
”The ministry is embarking on massive production, processing, value addition and product development to be the bedrock for driving our industries.
” I have no doubt that the Nigerian Potato industry has the potential to become globally competitive given the country’s strong comparative advantage in production,”he said
The permanent secretary maintained that potato could be commercially grown in twelve states, adding that it holds well for the activities of many stakeholders.
He said the government is aware of the challenges farmers are currently facing, adding that modalities have been adopted towards addressing them.
”The ministry is aware of the challenges in the agricultural sector, nevertheless I assure that necessary measures are taken to address them accordingly.
” Proactive initiatives, such as this National Potato Strategy creates avenues for inclusive collaborations to chart the way forward.
”I am optimistic this potato strategy document would be a springboard for the realisation of Nigeria’s aspiration to achieve food and nutrition security,”he added.
The permanent secretary thanked GIZ, a German organisation for supporting the initiative.
He explained that it is supporting the national strategy through its global programmes, Green Innovation Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector-Nigeria (GIAE), and the International Potato Centre (CIP) Nairobi, Kenya.