A total of 100 farmers in Nasarawa State have received inputs for massive production of sweet potato through a tripartite collaboration between the Federal Government, the Nasarawa State Government and the Green Economy Alternative Nigeria (GEAN).
The representatives of the three parties made the disclosure at the inauguration for the distribution of vines for breeding to the farmers on Friday (February 17, 2023) in Lafia.
Prof. Ibrahim Hussaini, Director General (DG) Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) explained that massive production of sweet potato would go a long way to address issues of food insecurity.
THe DG of RMRDC represented by Malam Mohammed Sheriff, said sweet potato especially orange fleshed type has a lot of health benefits and contains vitamin A.
He added that the nutritional and health value of the orange fleshed sweet potato was a product of research, as such the agency needs to promote its production, processing and marketing within and outside the country.
He added that the agency is responsible for industrial raw materials growth, promotion and utilisation and to advise the government on what is required to add value to raw materials in the country.
“We would work the the state government and others to provide processing equipment for value addition and processing of the potato into different finished products,” he added.
He further commended Mr Douglas Akaba, President, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Green Economy Alternative Nigeria for his effort toward actualizing the commencement of the programme in Nasarawa State.
Also, Comrade Emmanuel Alanana, Programme Manager (PM), Nasarawa State Agricultural Development Programme (NADP) said the state government had donated 50 hactares of land in Lafia for breeding of vines for the massive production of orange fleshed sweet potato.
Comrade Alanana also lauded the federal government and GEAN for the partnership to make Nasarawa State a sweet potato producing state.
He added that the state government through his office would put machinery in place to support the beneficiaries with technical knowledge on how to plant the potato in order to achieve it optimal benefit.
The programme manager added that the initiative would help in addressing the problem of food insecurity and boost the income of the famers to make thier lives worthwhile.
On his part, Mr Douglas Akaba, President, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Green Economy Alternative Nigeria said orange fleshed sweet potato has nutritional value as well as health benefits.
He added that a lot of advance nations of the world have made it part of thier policies for thier citizens to eat potatoes at least once or twice in a day because of its benefits.
He further said that the orange fleshed sweet potato can be cultivated three times in a year and spends only three months before harvesting it.
He therefore said that thier organisation would continue to collaborate with farmers and government until production of orange fleshed potatoes is practice by every farmer.
Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mr Joseph Alu from Nassarawa-Eggon Local Government Area lauded FG and Gov. abdullahi Sule for the initiative.
He added that the orange fleshed sweet potato has a lot of benefits and assured that in the next few months ahead, Nasarawa State would be one of the leading states in the production of the product.