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Agric Minister says Nigeria will be among top 3 world producers of potatoes by 2025

The minister says the Federal Government is committing resources to tackling the challenges for the benefit of potato farmers.

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, has said that Nigeria will be among the top three world producers of potatoes by 2025.

He disclosed this at the First International Potato Value-Chain and Other Root Crops Summit which held on Thursday in Jos.

He said that the ministry had identified the challenges confronting high yield as poor seed, disease, inadequate storage facilities and non-mechanisation.

Shehuri said that these challenges must be addressed not only at the federal level but also at the state level in order to meet global standards.

“Let me say categorically that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is firmly committed to tackling these challenges.

He said the Federal Government was committing resources to tackling the challenges for the benefit of potato farmers.

The minister said some of the measures taken to tackle these challenges included the establishment of Tissue Culture Centre at the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Sub-station, Jos, to solve the seed problems.

He said the government had set aside a 20-hectare irrigated land to support seed multiplication, adding that a 10-tonne cold storage facility was being built at the station.

The minister said two cottage factories had been constructed at Pankshin and Bokkos Local Government Areas to help processors address post-harvest losses.

He said all these had been done in recognition of Plateau as the highest producer of Irish potatoes in sub-Saharan Africa.

Shehuri said that recently the ministry bought some equipment to support production.

“These equipment have been made available to potato cooperatives and farmers at highly subsidised rate.

The minister called on potato farmers across the nation to take advantage of the numerous supports available so as to boost production.

Speaking on the occasion, the Governor of Plateau, Mr Simon Lalong, represented by his deputy, Mr Sunny Tyoden, said that so far under the potato value chain project, the state had done everything possible to support and encourage farmers.

“We have constructed a tissue culture laboratory in Mangu, three potato processing centres across the state, and nine diffuse light stores which are almost completed,“ said Lalong.

He said that as for potato, the state was second to none in Nigeria and has a high reputation for production of the crop in large quantities.

“This international conference is indeed holding at a time when we have put our best foot forward in consolidating our position as far as potato is concerned in Nigeria, ” he said.

Lalong said that the state was determined to enhance potato production using modern technologies and also building the capacity of farmers to adopt modern methods in production, storage, marketing and processing.

He advised all registered farmers to learn and make good use of the conference to improve on production.

Also present was the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Hosea Finangwail, who said that the state had hired and deployed 400 trained extension workers across the 17 LGAs of the state as directed by the governor.

He added that under the potato value chain project, an adaptability trial for Solanum potato production has positively shown that additional eight more LGAs from the initial nine could now also successfully farm solanum potato.

“The need for this conference cannot be over-emphasised in the next few years. Plateau will be conspicuous on the global map of solanum potato producers, ” he said.

NAN reports that farmers where expectant and ready to learn and put to use practices that will lead to high yields.

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Olafare Michael Oluwabukola
A Nationa Diploma holder in Computer Science at LENS POLYTECHNIC Offa, a full-time blogger, beatmaker, modern graphics designer, talent manager, and a vocalist


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