By Palma Ileye
In an effort to expedite development in the Agriculture Sector, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, FMAFS, in collaboration with Green Innovation Centre for the Agriculture and Food Sector and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ and other Relevant Partners launched the National Potato Strategy, NPS, 2023 -2028, to increase potato production into a commercially viable sub-sector of the Agricultural Value Chains, boost export earnings and achieve Food and Nutrition Security in the Agricultural Sector.
This was disclosed in a press release issued yesterday by Ezeaja Ikemefuna, Assistant Director, Information of the Ministry.
Speaking during the event that took place in Jos, Plateau State, the Permanent Secretary, FMAFS, Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, represented by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Engr. Abdullahi Abubakar said that the strategy would stimulate economic growth through various agricultural value chain activities, create employment opportunities and improve livelihoods for teeming youths and women.
Umakihihe stated that, “food and nutrition security was 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 the industries.”
He revealed that the Nigerian Potato Value Chain has the potential to become globally competitive given the country’s strong comparative advantage in production adding that Potatoes can be commercially grown in 12 States which holds well for the activities of many stakeholders.
He assured that the potato strategy document would be a springboard for the realization of Nigeria’s aspiration to achieve food and nutrition security.
The Permanent Secretary commended the contribution of GIZ’s Global Programmes “Green Innovation Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector-Nigeria,” GIAE, International Potato Centre, CIP, Nairobi, Kenya and other stakeholders for developing the National Potato Strategy Document 2023-2028.
In his remarks, the Governor of Plateau State, Barr. Caleb Muftwang represented by the State Commissioner of Agriculture, Hon. Bugama Samson assured that his administration would partner and collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in actualizing the laudable program.
In his Goodwill Message, the Country Director, German Agency for International Cooperation, GIZ, Markus Wagner revealed that, “German Cooperation has been partnering with Nigeria in the areas of sustainable economic development and transformation of the Agri-Food System, including the promotion and support of agricultural value chains for many years. The goal of the German Cooperation is to strengthen the income, employment, financial inclusion and food security of smallholder farmers and agribusiness.”
He added that, “as we celebrate this launch, let us seize this opportunity to commit to the implementation of the strategic pillars, ensuring that the National Potato Strategy not only remains a document but transforms into a catalyst for positive change.”
Highlight of the event was the Official Launch of the National Potato Strategy 2023 – 2028.
In attendance were Hon. Commissioner of Agriculture Plateau State, National Potato Multi Stakeholder Platform, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, among others.