The minister of state for agriculture and rural development, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, has reiterated the federal government’s determination to prevent Nigeria from experiencing any food crisis in the post COVID-19 era.
In his keynote address yesterday at the 1st international potato value chains and other root crops expo holding in Jos, the Plateau State capital, Sheguri said the ministry had taken proactive measures to mitigate any adverse effect that might escalate the food crisis by rolling out/distribution of agro input palliatives across the six geo-political zones of the country.
He said several interventions on dry season farming were in the pipeline to make up for the losses suffered by farmers from the recent floods in some parts of the country.
The minister pointed out that it’s a known fact that Nigeria has comparative advantage in the production of root and tuber crops, in reality the country leads in the production of yam, cassava and sweet potatoes in Africa, presently the 7th highest producer of Irish potatoes.
He argued that with this type of initiatives, they are on course to be among the top three world producers by 2025. The ministry is also aware of the huge investment opportunities that exist within the Irish potato value chain.
The minister even though there are some challenges such as poor seed, disease infestation (late blight), inadequate storage facilities, mechanization among others that must be addressed not only at federal level but also at the state level.
Also, in his address Governor Simon Lalong who was represented by his deputy, Prof. Sonny Tyoden, said Plateau weather, which is comparable to none in the country, gives them the comparative advantage of producing 95% of solanum potato consumed in this country.
According to him, the event focusing on potato, one of the most prominent crops that Plateau State is known for at home and abroad, speaks volumes of the state’s determination to make agriculture the mainstay of their economy.