Federal Government has commenced the distribution of inputs to 4,200 potato farmers across seven states selected for the cultivation of orange-fleshed sweet potato in the current farming season.
The Minister of agriculture and Rural Deveopment, Alhaji Mahmud Abubakar disclosed this in Katsina at the distribution of inputs and training of farmers on harnessing the potentials of the potato value chain.
He disclosed that states selected for the cultivation of the orange-fleshed sweet potato and its processing and sales value chain were Katsina, Adamawa, Kebbi, Niger, Jigawa, Gombe, and Kaduna States.
Alhaji said that the gesture was part of the Potato Value Chain Development Programme for the 2021 farming season.
Represented by the Head of the Potato Unit at the Ministry, Mr. Adegoke Adedamola, the minister explained that 600 potato farmers from each of the seven states will benefit from the gesture in the ongoing first phase of the exercise.
In his remarks, the Katina State Director of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Alhaji Suleiman Salihu, urged farmers in state to embrace the cultivation of orange-fleshed sweet potato in order to harness its economic and nutritional values.
He explained that the breed which is a relatively new variety in Nigeria also has medicinal value and is being used as a food supplement due to its richness in vitamin A, zinc, and iron.
Speaking on behalf of the potato farmers, the National President, Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr Daniel Okafor, commended the federal government for the support and urged the beneficiaries to impart the knowledge gained on other farmers in their communities.
Represented by his deputy, Alhaji Jalo Jauro, Okafor noted that such support will go a long way in assisting potato farmers to boost its cultivation, processing and sale.
Two participants at the training, Aisha Shehu Sani and Adamu Dungun-Muazu from an NGO said the training has equipped them with more knowledge on how to harness the potato value chain.
The potato farmers were given improved potato seeds and trained on preservation, cultivation, harvesting, processing and marketing techniques of the orange fleshed sweet potato crop.