Nigeria Unveils 5-Year Plan to Increase Potato Production
By Dipo Olowookere
A strategic plan to increase potato production in Nigeria has been unveiled by the federal government in partnership with the Green Innovation Centre for the Agriculture and Food Sector, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
This scheme is a five-year plan known as National Potato Strategy (NPS) 2023-2028, and was launched a few days ago at the Crispan Hotel, Jos, Plateau State.
According to the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, the ultimate goal is to boost the country’s export earnings and achieve food and nutrition security in the agricultural sector.
Speaking at the unveiling, Mr Umakhihe, represented by the Director of the Federal Department of Agriculture, Mr Abdullahi Abubakar, explained that the strategy would stimulate economic growth through various agricultural value chain activities, create employment opportunities and improve livelihoods for teeming youths and women.
“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,” the Permanent Secretary was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Assistant Director for Information in the ministry, Mr Ezeaja Ikemefuna.
He revealed that the Nigerian Potato Value Chain has the potential to become globally competitive given the country’s strong comparative advantage in production. Potatoes can be commercially grown in 12 states which holds well for the activities of many stakeholders, assuring that the potato strategy document would be a springboard for the realization of Nigeria’s aspiration to achieve food and nutrition security.
Mr Umakhihe commended the partners and other stakeholders for developing the strategic plan.
In his remarks, the Governor of Plateau State, Mr Caleb Muftwang, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Bugama Samson, assured that his administration would partner and collaborate with the ministry in actualizing the programme.
Also speaking, the Country Director for GIZ, Mr Markus Wagner, said, “Let us use 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.”