Federal Ministry of Agriculture Launches National Potato Strategy with GIZ

potato varieties-Kyau, Babban, Juriya, and Urica

       In a strategic move aimed at revitalizing Nigeria’s agricultural landscape, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, under the leadership of Honourable Minister Sen. Abubakar Kyari, has partnered with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) to launch “The National Potato Strategy,” set to span from 2023 to 2028.

     The strategy aims to capitalize on the vast potential of potatoes, the world’s third most consumed crop, known for its energy and nutrient-rich properties, including vitamin C, iron, B vitamins, and essential minerals. Despite its global popularity, Nigerian potato farmers have often battled low yields.

     The National Root Crops Researchers Institute has initiated four new potato varieties—Kyau, Babban, Juriya, and Urica- in a bid to resolve this issue. These varieties, boasting of disease and heat resistance, offer the promise of superior higher yields and a comparatively shorter maturity period of 120-days.

Irish Potato Flour

     At the launch event held in Plateau State, Eng. Abdullahi Garba Abubakar, Director of the Federal Department of Agriculture, spoke about the strategy’s importance.

    “It is the result of a collaborative effort between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, GIZ, the International Potato Centre (CIP), researchers, and the Potato Multi-Stakeholders platform. The aim is to establish a robust Potato Value Chain, underpinned by solid regulatory and legal frameworks, ensuring profitability for all stakeholders”. He said.

    Voicing his optimism for the new strategy, Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, represented by Engr Abdullahi Garba Abubakar, expressed confidence in the strategy’s success, likening it to the fruitful National Rice Policy. He emphasized the Ministry’s commitment to economic growth through agricultural value chain activities, with a focus on food and nutrition security. 

     “The launch of the National Potato Strategy signifies a significant step toward achieving food and nutrition security in Nigeria. It positions Nigeria as a major player in the global potato industry and promises a brighter future for farmers, consumers, and the nation as a whole”. He said.

      Mr. Steve Bawa, Vice Chairman of the National Potato Multi-Stakeholders Platform, overviewed the strategy’s potential impact bringing up a study on challenges such as low yield, disease prevalence, lack of optimum cultivation knowledge among farmers, and lower seed quality.

     Acknowledging the state’s recognition as the ”home of potatoes”, the Governor of Plateau state, Barr Caleb Mutfwang, represented by the Commissioner of the State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Hon Bugama Samson Ishaku, pledged unwavering support for the strategy. He highlighted the state’s readiness to collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture and GIZ to enhance potato production, benefiting farmers across the nation.

      Dr. Marcus Wagner, the Country Director of GIZ, commended the collaborative efforts of various stakeholders in developing the National Potato Strategy. He stressed the importance of inclusive strategies that consider vulnerable groups, emphasizing the role of women in agriculture. 

“As Germans, we have a special relationship with potatoes and therefore understand the meaning of this great achievement in the potato sector” he noted.

    Wagner called upon all stakeholders to turn the strategy into actionable steps to drive progress in the agricultural sector.

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