[Leadership] — The federal government, through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), is targeting N24 billion (USD155 million) from the revival of groundnut pyramids. The Groundnut Value Chain (GVC) has a goal of reaching 1.8 million farmers.
Agriculture minister Dr Akinwumi Adesina revealed this at the launch of the GVC in Abuja yesterday. “The Revival of the new value chain is to be in collaboration with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the world leading centre for research on groundnuts and sorghum,” he said. “The groundnut value chain will produce an additional 120,000 metric tonnes of groundnut grains at N24 billion (US $155 million) and supplied to small, medium and large-scale processors. The project will be implemented directly in 15 states (Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Kebbi, Kwara, Nassarawa, Niger, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara).”
Recalling the collapse of the groundnuts pyramids in the past, the minister said: “When Nigeria found oil, it abandoned agriculture in general and groundnut production suffered as shelled groundnut plummeted from 502,000 MT in 1961 to 291,000 in 1970 and zero by 1980 when the groundnuts pyramids disappeared.”
He added that “droughts, aflatoxin contamination of groundnuts and its by-products and groundnut rosette disease where among several factors which led to the collapse of the groundnut pyramids in northern Nigeria”.
Optimistic on the new value chain, Akinwum stated: “The Groundnut Value Chain is one of the crop-based programmes of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the ministry.” He further revealed that the new value chain had received budgetary allocation for the first time in 2013, the aim being to drive the development of groundnut with stakeholders along the value chain to improve production, processing, marketing and exports.”
He assured that the new value chain was to be achieved through “the formation of groundnut innovation platforms at national, states and local government levels, release of four new improved rosette resistant varieties, dissemination of improved varieties to at least 180,000 farmers and the production of 2000 metric tonnes of quality improved varieties”.
Other programmes, he maintained, will include “the training of 1,000 extension agents, training of 600 women processors as well as assistance to 60 women groups to procure groundnut oil processing machines”.
Dr Akinwumi maintained that the success of the groundnut value chain will depend on partnership between several agencies including ICRISAT, Institute of Agricultural Research Zaria, the National Agricultural Extension Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), Bayero University Kano, the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria(ARCN), National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), State Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs) of participating states, and the National Groundnut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria.
Akinwumi recalled that groundnut is special to Nigeria as a significant part of the nation’s economy in the ‘60s revolved around groundnut pyramids with northern Nigeria at the time being one of the largest producers of groundnuts with a market share of over 40 per cent.
Speaking on the relationship between Nigeria and ICRISAT, director-general of the institute Dr William Dar assured that the research institute was a ready partner with the nation through an “Inclusive Market Development Strategy”.