Federal Government has reaffirmed it’s determination in boosting Castor Farming in the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Ernest Umakhihe stated this during the opening ceremony of a Capacity building Training on Good Agricultural Practices for Castor Farmers held in Kano.
He said in an effort to attain food security, self security as well as improving the livelihood of Castor Farmers, government was creating awareness on Castor farming, geared towards achieving the set objectives.
Dr Ernest Umakhihe noted that Castor is the most versatile plant being used by over ten different industries for various products.
“The seed contains between 40 to 70 percent oil, which is unique among vegetable oils because is the only commercial source of a hydroxylated fatty acid. The demand for Castor oil has kept increasing in the international market, assured by 700 users, ranging from medicine, cosmetic, biodiesel, plastic and Lubricants”.
He added that Federal Ministry of Agriculture and rural development through the value chain have so far distributed 7,870,000kg of breeder foundation Castor seeds as palliative to Castor Farmers aimed at cushioning the effect of Covid 19 pandemic.
In a remark, the Executive Director of the institute Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Professor Mohammad Faguci Iyaku said the workshop was very timely, aimed at building their capacity on how to key into Castor Farming.
“Nigeria import Castor oil close to 30 billion Naira Annually, this was one of the efforts to bridge the gap so that we can be self sufficient in Castor oil production, and even export it for Commercial purposes”.
He said if the stated goals were achieved, in the next few years Nigeria would not only be self sufficient in the production of Castor but would be exporting the oil, aimed at boosting the Nation’s Economy.
The workshop attracted Castor Farmers from different parts of the country.