By Chinyere Anyanwu, [email protected]
A five-year potato strategic plan aimed at achieving massive production, product development, value addition and processing of potato products in the country has been launched by the Federal Government.
The government said it is confident that the national potato strategy would follow the footsteps of the rice policy to usher in the era of product competitiveness in the industry.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Umakhihe, who disclosed this in Jos, Plateau State, said, “potatoes can be commercially grown in twelve states, which hold well for the activities of many stakeholders. The essence of this strategy is to ensure sustainable food and nutrition security with a view to catalysing the rapid transformation of the Nigerian potato sector into a commercially viable sector of the agricultural value chains as a major export product.”
He said the ministry’s commitment towards the development of the sector with a goal to stimulate economic growth through various agricultural value chain activities thereby creating employment opportunities for the teeming youths and women in the country.
Umakhihe who spoke at the official launch of the National Potato Strategy 2023 to 2028 in Jos, said the ministry was embarking on massive production, processing, value addition and product development to be the bedrock for driving the industries.
The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Abduallahi Abubakar, reiterated the ministry’s commitment towards the development of the sector, adding that the goal is to stimulate economic growth through various agricultural value chain activities to create employment opportunities and improved livelihoods for the teeming youths and women.
According to him, the essence of this strategy is to ensure sustainable food and nutrition security with a view to catalysing the rapid transformation of the Nigerian potato sector into a commercially viable sub-sector of the agricultural value chains as a major export product.
He also pointed out that the ministry is aware of the challenges in the agricultural sector, nevertheless, “I assure that necessary measures are being taken to address them accordingly. Proactive initiatives such as this National Potato Strategy creates avenue for inclusive collaborations to chart the way forward.”
In his remarks, Plateau State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, said his administration would continue to seek collaboration with critical stakeholders on how to boost potato farming and production in the state.
The governor who was represented by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bugama Samson Ishaku, said the state is the home of potato, adding that all hands must be on deck to ensure the implementation of the National Potato Strategy for sustainable food and nutrition security.
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