Abiodun OBA

Nigeria is now the largest producer of rice and sorghum in Africa and the second-largest producer of millet.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, made the revelation at the inauguration of technical working documents and debriefing of outcomes of socio-economic studies in Abuja.

The inauguration is by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Nigeria.

He said that investment in agriculture was paying off and therefore  charged research institutes to give sorghum the same priority as other crops like cassava and rice.

“Why is sorghum not given the kind of priority like cassava and other crops are given? The time is now to do that.

”So I want the ministry to take note that sorghum is equally, in fact, a very important crop that should be given the same kind of attention.

”The bottom-line in agriculture is research, development, collaboration, implementation, monitoring and evaluation,” he said.

”Our investment in agriculture is paying and the country has become the largest producer of rice and sorghum in Africa, second largest producer of millet in Africa and the first in cassava and yam production globally.

”However, more needs to be done, the potentials across crops, livestock, horticulture and fisheries sub-sectors are enormous.

”Government is determined to fill the gap and consolidate on the achievements recorded and focus on productivity enhancement, institutional realignment and private sector investment.

”Expectations are to deploy improved varieties and support agribusiness undertakings in the country,” he said.

Abubakar noted that the expectations in agriculture were to take Nigeria to the promised land and that could only be achieved when researchers are adaptive, focused to solving challenges and needs.

He also said that entrepreneurs should take deliberate actions to invest in the different agricultural value chains.

”The ministry, therefore, requires your contribution and support towards delivering in the above priorities areas, only then we will be able to address the impact of the global health emergency and high expectation of present administration in agriculture,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe,  also said that the expectation to take agriculture to the promise would only be achieved when researchers were adoptive and focused “to solving our challenges.”

”It is gratifying to note the potentials in crops, livestock and fisheries sub-sectors that are very enormous.

”The prospects are to deploy improved varieties associated with technologies and support agribusiness undertakings in the country,” Umakhihe said.

Also, Country Representative, ICRISAT, Nigeria, Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, expressed hope that research findings on sorghum, groundnut and pearl millet value chains would go a long way to boost the sector when included in policy formulation.


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