The Federal Government is targeting about 4, 200 potato farmers across seven states in the country for its agricultural inputs support.
The beneficiaries according to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development were given improved potato seed and trained on how to preserve potato cuttings after harvest and planting, processing and marketing of the commodity to get its maximum benefits.
Speaking during the launch of the distribution of inputs to potato farmers in Katsina State, Mr. Adegoke Adedamola, head of the potato unit of the ministry, noted that the gesture was under the Potato Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) for 2021 farming season.
According to him, 600 potato farmers from each of the seven states will benefit from the federal government gesture, saying this was the first phase of the exercise.
Adedamola further explained that the ministry had already launched the distribution in Niger, Jigawa, Gombe, Adamawa and Kebbi, while that of Kaduna State would take place on Tuesday, Sept. 7.
“This gesture is to support the adoption of vitamin ‘A’ rich sweet potato, which will help build people’s immune system and also assist in increasing their potato production.
“The potato flour product could be used to produce different quality food items like cake baking, bread and making juice, among others.
“I assured the farmers that when you adopt this method of potato farming process, it is an easy way for you to boost your production and become rich,” he said.
Alhaji Suleiman Salihu, the State’s Director of the ministry called on the farmers to utilise the opportunity to boost food production in the state and to also support President Muhammad Buhari’s commitment in the sector.
He urged the beneficiaries to impart the knowledge gained to other farmers in their communities given the enormous benefit.
Speaking on behalf of the potato farmers, the National President, Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria (PFAN), Mr Daniel Okafor, commended the federal government for the support.
Represented by his deputy, Alhaji Jalo Jauro, Okafor said that such support would go a long way in assisting the potato farmers to grow their production and business.
According to him, apart from its commercial benefits, the potato leaf cures pile, boosts men’s sexual ability and loaded with vitamin A.
What you need to know
Nigeria is one of the largest producers of potatoes in Africa. The potato was introduced to the country in the 19th century by Christian missionaries and is largely cultivated in the central region of the country in Plateau State.
The potato is a tuber crop that has high nutritional value. It has protein, calcium, and vitamin C. One potato of medium size contains 50 per cent of the daily vitamin C needs of an adult. Its protein content is reported to be very high compared to other tubers and roots