Nigeria will generate about N25 billion annually and provide means of livelihood to about 500,000 families from castor production, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Abdulkadir Mu’azu, stated this during a two-day national castor stakeholders meeting and farmers’ field day on Friday in Zaria.
According to him, the Federal Government had a short term program within which to realize the target adding that the target (N25 billion) would be realised from 2021 to 2024.
‘’If by 2024 we were not able to realize the set target, we will review the strategy and continue from there.”
Mu’azu, who was represented by Mr Bernand Chukwuemeka, Deputy Director, Federal Department of Agriculture said the ministry had resolved to raise the productivity of castor through the castor value chain.
He noted that castor was an important oil seed crop with great utilization in industrial, pharmaceutical and agricultural sectors.
Mu’azu said the seed contained between 40 per cent to 60 per cent oil adding that the demand for castor oil kept increasing in the international market.
The permanent secretary said the ministry would introduce high yielding, early maturing and disease resistant castor seeds.
He added that government would conduct workshops for capacity building in various aspects of castor activities.
In her remarks, Hajiya Hadiza Lawal, Kaduna State Commissioner for Agriculture said the state had aligned itself with the Federal Government efforts, to boost castor production.
Lawal, represented by Malam Mohammed Saidu said the state had developed data of castor farmers with a view to scale up interventions.
She said the state was working with key stakeholders to secure more markets for the commodity to avert what happened in the past where castor farmers failed to get market for their produce.
Also speaking, Prof. Mohammed Ishiyaku, Director, Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria said the institute conducted research on 50 different varieties of castor.
Ishiyaku, represented by Dr Alhassan Usman, Head of Plant Science Department of the university said out of the 50 varieties, 14 different lines were promising.
He added that the 14 different lines were being evaluated in 10 states since 2018.
Ishiyaku said that by 2021, the institute would unveil three castor varieties that would be comparable to any castor variety in the world.