Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Stakeholders Make Case for Root and Tuber Crops

Stakeholders in agriculture have called on Nigerians to give appropriate attention to the root and tuber crops (RTCs), over which the country has a comparative advantage, to ensure the attainment of food security and the improvement of livelihoods in rural communities.

Stakeholders in agriculture have called on Nigerians to give appropriate attention to the root and tuber crops (RTCs), over which the country has a comparative advantage, to ensure the attainment of food security and the improvement of livelihoods in rural communities.

This call was made at a three-day workshop held at the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, Abia State, with the theme: ‘Leveraging Root and Tuber Crops (Cassava, Yam, Cocoyam, Sweet Potato, Potato, and Ginger) for a More Resilient Agriculture-Based Economy’.

The workshop had about 500 participants from Nigeria and the global community, including the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), and the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC).

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Others are Michael Okpara University Umudike (MOUAU), the University of Uyo, the Federal College of Agriculture Ishiagu (FCAI), the National Institute of Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan, among others.

The NRCRI Executive Director, Prof. Chiedozie Egesi, while delivering his speech, noted that there is hope for Nigeria provided there is unadulterated adoption of improved agricultural practices in RTC production provided by research institutes.

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Egesi disclosed that NRCRI has released several new varieties, out of which nine are yellow cassava, 34 yam varieties, six potato varieties, and two ginger varieties, as well as the establishment of a spin-off company, Umudike Foods Ltd., to market numerous value-added products of the institute.

Also speaking was Prof. Sule Ochai of the African Development Bank (AfDB), who pointed out that there is a need for a significant increase in investment in agriculture and advanced policy reform for root and tuber crops to support an agriculture-based resilient economy.

 

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