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FAO urges improved millet production to tackle hunger in Nigeria

FAO urges improved millet production to tackle hunger in Nigeria

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has called for improved cultivation of millets, as a tool to address hunger, malnutrition in Nigeria.

Fred Kafeero, FAO representative in Nigeria stated this in Abuja on Tuesday, at the commemoration of the 2023 International Year of Millets.

According to Kafeero, millets are resilient crops that have withstood the test of time, adapting to various agro ecological conditions and feeding generations.

“Millets, those tiny but mighty grains, have played an important role in the sustenance and nourishment of communities across the globe.

“We recognise their immense nutritional value, and their contribution to food security, poverty alleviation, and sustainable agriculture,” he said.

He reaffirmed FAO’s commitment in offering technical assistance to the government of Nigeria in its efforts to promote the cultivation, consumption, and commercialisation of millets.

“Together with all of you, and with renewed enthusiasm and determination, there is no doubt we will harness the potential of millets to combat hunger, malnutrition, and the challenges posed by climate change.

Also speaking, Sugra Mamood, director, food safety department of the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development, said that Nigeria has a long-standing history of cultivating and consuming millet.

She stated that the country through a millet value chain can enhance agricultural sustainability, reduce vulnerability to climate change, and improve livelihoods for farmers.

“Millet is not only a nutrient-rich crop, packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, but it is also resilient to harsh climatic conditions and requires less water compared to other staple crops.

“By highlighting and promoting the various dishes made with millet, we pay homage to our cultural heritage while recognising its immense potential in addressing the food and nutrition security challenges we face today”, she said.

Shri G. Balasubramanian, the Indian high commissioner to Nigeria, said millet as a staple diet in the sub-Saharan region can lead to food sufficiency in the arid regions of the world if properly harnessed.

He noted that the government of India has been on the forefront of making millets popular and ensuring that it becomes a part of regular diet for millions through the Indian Millet Initiative.

According to Balasubramanian, India has cooperated with Nigeria in terms of technical and knowledge sharing relating to millet crops, research and development for development of better varieties.

He added that the country has also offered the managed plug-in to strengthen capacity building through extension for small farm holders.