The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, says the ministry has made yam a priority crop in 2020 fiscal year out of over 28 crops being promoted in the ministry.
Nanono disclosed this on Friday in Abuja at the stakeholders meeting on ‘Yam Value Chain Development in Nigeria’.
The minister said the ministry in addition, was mobilising and engaging the active participation of state governments, youths, women and other stakeholders to boost capacity and production in the sector
Nanono who was represented by Mrs Karima Babangida, a director in the ministry, said that that food security was the most important form of guaranteeing the sovereignty of any state.
“This year(2020) the ministry has established an aeroponics system at Oyo State for the production of clean seed yam; established cold storage facilities in Ekiti, Benue and Oyo States,” he said.
The minister said that the construction of modern yam storage facility in Nasarawa State had been completed.
He said that 10,000 one node vine cuttings and 80,000 clean foundation seed yams were distributed to elites farmers in Imo, while 75, 000 seed yams were distributed to farmers in Ibadan.
“In addition, the ministry has introduced dry season yam farming using Benue and Nasarawa as pilot states while, plans are underway to distribute seed yams to farmers in Kogi, Niger and Taraba for dry season farming,” he said.
Nanono said the ministry was collaborating with relevant Research Institutes for the production and distribution of disease free foundation seed yam and value addition.
He said the efforts were aimed at cushioning the effect of COVID- 19 pandemic.
“Supporting the growth of the Nigerian seed yam industry would lead to production of quality tubers that would meet the emerging industry needs, which is important for food security, job creation and ultimately the growth of the economy,” he said.
In her address, Babangida represented by Mr Hakeem Raji of the ministry, said the theme of the meeting: “Repositioning Yam as a Source of Food and Wealth in the Face of COVID-19″ was very apt.
She said that the ministry had taken a bold step in undertaking various activities aimed at ensuring that challenges of actors along the yam value chain were addressed, adding that the meeting was one of such series.