The federal government has pledged to increase the production of millets to enhance farmers’ income and attract more youth into its cultivation with a view to meeting national and industrial demands.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Abubakar, spoke over the weekend during the commemoration of the International Year of Millet (IYM 2023) organised by the Indian High Commission, Abuja.
Represented by a director in the ministry, Engr. Abdullahi Abubakar, the minister admitted that millet production in Nigeria has not met the national demand, said all hands must be on deck in order for Nigeria to achieve the set goal.
“Presently, millet in Nigeria has not met the national demand and it is attributed to low productivity of the crop. Our national demand for millet as at 2022 was 6.4 million metric tons, while our national production is only two million metric tonnes.
“This low productivity can be caused by local potential of the crop’s variety, application of poor agronomic practices, depleted soil, climate change or aggregation of these factors.
“The ministry is in need to increase the productivity of the crop so as to enhance farmers income and attract more youths into millet cultivation and meet our national demand and industrial demand and contribute to the growth of the GDP. I want to assure you that the Ministry will cooperate with you to ensure that no stone is left unturned until Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in millet production in the nearest future,” Abubakar said.
Earlier, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gangadharan Balasubramanian, had said India has already taken innovative steps to increasing millet production and with close partnership with Nigeria.
“The government of India is very keen, is very conscious. We have a separate millet imitative that has started, various research programmes are going on, various support systems are being put in place. Farmers are being taught, there are a lot of activities that are taking place in terms of improving and providing the millets to the general populations”, he said.