The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has trained more than 50 farmers on pests control to accelerate groundnut production in the country.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Mohammmed Abubakar, stated this at the inauguration of the capacity building workshop for groundnut farmers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), on Thursday in Bauchi.
Abubakar, represented by Mr. Daniel Abarshi, the Director of the ministry in charge of Bauchi State, said the exercise was to expose farmers to good agronomics practice, to achieve higher yields at harvest.
He said that the farmers would be trained on land preparation, seed quality, improved varieties, timing, planting among others.
“Effects of pest in groundnut at various stages of growth and diseases that affect groundnut are responsible for the current low yields.
“Groundnut is one of the leading cash crops that supported Nigeria’s economy before the oil boom era.
“However, it has now been relegated to the background due to years of neglect, fortunately, this administration has seen the need to make agriculture the center of its economic diversification agenda,” he said.
The minister also identified groundnut as the major source of vegetable oil for domestic and industrial use as well as leguminous crops that grow widely.
He commended the Bauchi State Government for its support to the ministry which facilitated the implementation of its projects and programs in the state.
In her remarks, Hajiya Karima Babangida, Director, Agriculture of the ministry, said the ministry had focused on achieving food and nutrition security through its various activities.
Babangida who was represented by Hajiya Zainab Fika, Desk Officer, Groundnut Value Chain, said that the federal government was determined to adopt new agronomy practices in groundnut production.
This, she said, could be achieved with the application of necessary biosafety facilities to curb the menace of aflatoxin attacks.
“The training is very important at this point in time when Nigeria’s groundnut is suffering outright rejection from the foreign market.
“We are presently working with groundnut farmers across the country to continue building their capacity on new agronomical planting that will curb the threat.
“Besides, the government has noticed a fast decline in the harvest of groundnut crops due to climate change.
“We are also involving the collaboration of international agencies to address the challenges and provide solutions.
“We are presently training more than 50 groundnut farmers with the expectation to improve their knowledge and skills to increase production,” she said.
Also speaking, Malam Ibrahim Mohammed, Chairman, National Groundnut Producers, Processors, and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NGPPAMAN), Bauchi State chapter, lauded the Federal Government for its initiative to encourage groundnut production.
Mohammed said the gesture would improve their knowledge to enable them to increase their production output.