Nigeria, India unveil advanced millet production to tackle food insecurity


Nigeria and India have unveiled advanced millet producing strategy and advocacy to increase millet production to tackle the looming global food insecurity and improving nutritional values.

Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gangadharan Balasubramanian and Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Abubakar, disclosed this during the commemoration of the International Year of Millet (IYM 2023) organised by the Indian High Commission, Abuja.

The duo said that knowing the health and nutritional benefits of millet, both countries have keyed into the United Nations (UN) declaration of the IYM 2023, to increase production of the grain and create more awareness on the benefits.

Balasubramanian said that India has already taken innovative steps to increasing millet production and with close partnership with Nigeria.

“The International Year of Millet was proposed by the government of India at the United Nations, and I am very happy to say that Nigeria was one of the eight countries which have co-sponsored this resolution.

“Supported by 70 other people and subsequently was unanimously agreed by the United Nations to announce 2023 as the International Year of Millet.

“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, and 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.

“Nigeria is one of the major five millet producing countries, and it is pertinent to note that India and Nigeria will come together in celebrating this.

“This cooking and food festival is only to showcase that it will be possible for us to have all the kinds of items that we consume on a daily basis which can be replaced by millets also.

“This is just the beginning, we will be having a conclave of meetings between Indian and Nigerian stakeholders in millet production, whether it is the agro-tech, the farmers, or the extension services that will be provided,” Balasubramanian said.

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

Promoting millet production

On his part, Abubakar said the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has been promoting millet production and value addition towards self-sufficiency and meeting industrial requirements in the country.

The Minister, represented by a Director in the Ministry, Abdullahi Abubakar, said all hands must be on deck for Nigeria to achieve the set goals.

“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 dire 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.

“This event is as well to reawaken the consciousness of Nigerian millet farmers to adopt good agronomic practices to improve the livelihood of farmers and the GDP of Nigeria

“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.

Also speaking, the Etsu Nupe, Yahaya Abubakar, said the event marked the beginning of a great journey between both countries to produce a crop which will be of immense benefit to humanity.

“I am sure this is just the beginning of our journey towards achieving our desired food security,” he said

The event was marked with the Millet Food Festival and Cooking Competition, organised by the High Commission in collaboration with the Niger State government. (NAN)

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