Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has disclosed that out of over 28 crops being promoted in the ministry, yam production remains a priority in the 2020 fiscal year.
The Minister made this disclosure yesterday while speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on “Yam Value Chain Development in Nigeria.”
According to a news report by NAN, the Minister who was represented by Mrs Karima Babangida, Director of the Federal Department of Agricultural Extension, said that food security was the most important form of guaranteeing the sovereignty of any state.
In this regard, he stated that the ministry would continue to promote yam production, as out of over 28 crops being promoted in the ministry, yam production remained a priority in the 2020 fiscal year, given the unlocked potentials of the yam value chain.
The Minister explained that his ministry was mobilising and engaging the active participation of state governments, youths, women and other stakeholders to boost capacity and production in the sector. In this regard, he added that the construction of a modern yam storage facility in Nasarawa State had been completed.
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He disclosed that 10,000 one node vine cuttings and 80,000 clean foundation seed yams were distributed to elite farmers in Imo, while 75,000 seed yams were distributed to farmers in Ibadan.
Nanono said that the ministry was collaborating with relevant Research Institutes for the production and distribution of disease-free foundation seed yams and value addition. He said the efforts were aimed at cushioning the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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What they are saying
The Minister, represented by Mrs Karima Babangida, said:
“Repositioning Yam as a Source of Food and Wealth in the Face of COVID-19″ was very apt. This year (2020) the ministry has established an aeroponics system at Oyo State for the production of clean seed yam; established cold storage facilities in Ekiti, Benue and Oyo States.”
“In addition, the ministry has introduced dry season yam farming using Benue and Nasarawa as pilot states, while plans are underway to distribute seed yams to farmers in Kogi, Niger and Taraba for dry season farming.”
“However, supporting the growth of the Nigerian seed yam industry would lead to the production of quality tubers that would meet the emerging industry needs, which is important for food security, job creation and ultimately the growth of the economy.”
Why this matters
- The promotion of yam as a priority crop will spiral interventions for farmers and other participants in the yam value chain. These interventions will not only build on the gains of the previous interventions but also stimulate the adoption of new innovations and technologies that will unlock the optimal production of yam and economic efficiency in this value chain.
- This will increase the level of economic efficiency of farmers in the sector, boost production and supply of yam in the Nigerian markets, and stimulate knowledge transfers to the production of other crops which in turn will unlock sector-wide positive economies.
- However, by leveraging on the rural participants, and creating opportunities for smallholder farmers through yam production and marketing, the increase in yam supply and its quality is expected to stimulate a sustainable increase in the incomes of smallholder yam producers, and strengthen food security in the nation, as well as economic development and resilience.
- This would pave way for the government to generate value from the unexploited potential of the yam markets, and its prospect of being a reliable foreign exchange earner for the country.