The Federal Government has revealed that it will streamline the existing sorghum varieties in the country to enhance self-sufficiency, income generation, food production, nutrition security, amongst others.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar revealed this while receiving the report of the Sorghum Technical Committee, in his office in Abuja.
He stated that the objective of streamlining the existing sorghum varieties was to find other ways of improving productivity, value addition and quality of sorghum produce, noting that the exercise was crucial to enhancing farmers’ income, get more young people to cultivate sorghum, meeting national demand and contribute to the growth of the gross domestic product.
“This cannot be achieved without the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders – farmers, seed producers, input providers and international institutes,” he said.
The minister recalled that the technical committee arose from a meeting with stakeholders on the production, commercialisation and product development of sorghum in Nigeria, in Gombe State in 2020. To achieve the objective, he said, the ministry set up a committee to streamline the existing varieties.
Abubakar pointed out that, recently, sorghum assumed great industrial relevance, causing multi-national companies like breweries to use sorghum grits as adjuncts (up to 40 per cent) to barley base (mash) for beverages and breakfast cereals.
Speaking further, he noted that flour mills also use sorghum composited with wheat for flour which serves as the main ingredient in the manufacturing of confectioneries and other food products (with sorghum as one of the ingredients).
A statement by the ministry’s director of information, signed by Mohammed Abdullahi Gana said Abubakar identified the prevalence of many varieties and cultivars as the major problem leading to low sorghum productivity and a supply shortfall.
Earlier, the ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, represented by the director, rural development, Engr. Udo Daniel commended the committee for the report presented, hoping that the streamlining of the existing sorghum varieties would meet food and industrial demand that would achieve the desired goal.
In his remarks, the chairman of the committee, Prof. Daniel Aba stated that sorghum remains a sustainable crop in Nigeria and the rest of Africa and, as such, had gained commercial importance in most African countries because of its different uses, noting that the crop is gradually replacing other crops in Nigeria and other African countries.