In a groundbreaking development, the Nigerian government, in collaboration with esteemed partners including the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), has launched the National Potato Strategy (NPS) for the years 2023-2028. The primary objective of this strategic initiative is to elevate potato production to a commercially viable level within the Agricultural Value Chains, bolster export revenues, and secure Food and Nutrition Security within the agricultural sector.
This momentous announcement was made through an official statement from the Ministry of Information, following the launch ceremony in Jos, Plateau State. The event was presided over by Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
The National Potato Strategy is a collaborative effort involving the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS), the Green Innovation Centre for the Agriculture and Food Sector, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationales Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and other pertinent partners.
Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, represented by Engr. Abdullahi Abubakar, the Director of the Federal Department of Agriculture, expressed optimism about the strategy’s potential to stimulate economic growth through various agricultural value chain activities, generate employment opportunities, and enhance the livelihoods of the nation’s youth and women. He emphasized the Ministry’s unwavering commitment to food and nutrition security and its intent to lay the foundation for burgeoning industries through extensive production, processing, value addition, and product development.
Highlighting Nigeria’s robust comparative advantage in potato production, the Ministry asserted that the Nigerian Potato Value Chain has the potential to become globally competitive. They noted that potatoes can be profitably cultivated in 12 states, which bodes well for the involvement of numerous stakeholders. The National Potato Strategy Document for 2023-2028 is poised to serve as a vital catalyst for realizing Nigeria’s aspirations for food and nutrition security.
The Ministry extended its commendations to GIZ’s Global Programme “Green Innovation Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector-Nigeria” (GIAE), the International Potato Centre (CIP) in Nairobi, Kenya, and other stakeholders for their instrumental role in developing the National Potato Strategy Document.
In a show of solidarity, the Governor of Plateau State, Barr. Caleb Muftwang, represented by the State Commissioner of Agriculture, Hon. Bugama Samson, affirmed his administration’s commitment to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to actualize this laudable program.
Markus Wagner, the Country Director of the German Agency for International Cooperation, GIZ, underscored the longstanding partnership between Germany and Nigeria in sustainable economic development and the transformation of the Agri-Food System. Wagner highlighted the goal of German Cooperation, which is to fortify the income, employment, financial inclusion, and food security of smallholder farmers and agribusiness. He urged all stakeholders to turn the National Potato Strategy into a catalyst for positive change.
This strategic move comes in a timely fashion following President Tinubu’s recent directive to intensify crop production, reflecting the nation’s dedication to agricultural excellence and food security.