By Olayinka Owolewa
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development began a two-day training for 30 smallholder sugarcane farmers in Ilorin on Tuesday.
Declaring the programme open, an Assistant Chief Agriculture Officer in the ministry, Malam Samaila Garba, said access to quality seed canes had been a challenge leading to low yield in the country.
Garba represented the minister, Dr Mahmud Muhammed, at the ceremony.
He explained that the capacity building of smallholder sugarcane farmers in community-based seed cane production was crucial to boosting the yield.
He said the training was part of strategies to build the capacity of small-holder sugarcane farmers through the sugarcane value chain to.
He added that the programme would also improve sugarcane production technologies and marketing of seed cane provide support for farmers and enhance their businesses.
“At the end of this programme, each participant will get a set of input package.
“This includes 10 (10kg) certified seed cane, two (2) litres each of liquid organic fertilizer, herbicides and insecticides as part of renewed support by the ministry.
“The Federal Government is committed to supporting the agricultural sector to realise its potentials of driving an inclusive economic growth, achieving food and nutrition security and creating job opportunities.
“Stakeholders in the sugar sub-sector should complement government’s efforts in supporting farmers with necessary trainings, agricultural inputs and farm machineries.
“This will cushion the devastating effect of the recent floods and security challenges in many parts of the country which has greatly affected peoples’ livelihoods,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Chairman, National Sugarcane Producer, Processors and Marketing Association of Nigeria (NASPPMAN) Kwara chapter, Malam Muhammed Ndako-Shaaba applauded government for the training.
“Development of sugarcane crop value chain will create market opportunities for hundreds of farmers.
“We all know that smallholder farmers are the major suppliers of raw materials to the big industries, which make this programme to be the best in this era because it is for smallholder farmers and rural oriented.
“Nigeria will succeed. Nigeria will unleash hope for its rural areas. Nigeria must be self-sufficient in sugar production according to the nation’s sugar master plan,’’ Ndako-Shaaba said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that participants were drawn from Benue, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi, Oyo, Ondo, Cross-River, Edo and Enugu states. (NAN)