New Telegraph

Tinubu To Support NRCRI To Sustain Nigeria’s Global Leadership In Root, Tuber Production

President Bola Tinubu has commended the leadership of the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike Abia State, for its innovative measures to tackle food security and manpower development in Nigeria and promised to provide greater support to sustain Nigeria’s global leadership in root and tuber production.

According to him, the efforts of the Institute have provided jobs, and crop quality and led Nigeria to be the largest producer of cassava, and yam as well as leading in the discovery of other improved crop varieties.

President Tinubu made the promise through his Senior Special Assistant on Agriculture and Agric Business, Dr Kingsley Uzoma, during the centennial celebration of the Institute on the theme, NRCRI: a Century of Empowerment through Root and tuber crops Research held at the Institute, noted that the recognition of NRCRI as a leading research institute made the federal government to assign the crop Research centre to find solution to ginger virus witnessed recently in the country and promised to partner the Institute to achieve other feats.

Also speaking, the minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Dr Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi represented by Dr Edet Ekong stressed the need to close the gap between researchers and farmers. The minister observed that “the growth of the Institute has contributed to the growth of the Nigerian economy, creating opportunities for farmers including those in the rural areas.”

He added that the present administration is desirous to see robust transformation through agriculture and called on relevant stakeholders including the Institute to sustain all efforts to reduce hunger in the land.

The keynote speaker and 2016 World Food Prize laureate, Dr Jan Low, who spoke on the topic “A Century of Empowerment through Root and Tuber Crops Research called on Africa and Nigeria in particular to change the narratives of yam and tubers.

Dr Low pointed out that Africa still has a malnutrition problem, while COVID-19 added to 132 million malnutrition globally. While condemning the use of highly processed foods, she stated that Nigeria can probably get 1.12% annual production growth through the use of quality goods even as she congratulated the Institute for championing the large production of Cassava.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Director of NRCRI, Professor Chiedozie Egesi said the institute has done a lot in technological innovations in partnership with Local and international agencies to bring about innovations, such as new varieties of crops, new technologies for the management of the crop, seed multiplication, preservation of the harvest, and value addition.

Egesi disclosed that NRCRI has developed over 50 improved cassava varieties, over 30 yam varieties, sweet potato 4, potato 10, and ginger 2 among others. He added that the institute has also developed the seed system for root and tuber crops, known as semi-autotrophic and anisotropic for cassava, potato, and sweet potato.

In his remarks, the executive secretary Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Professor Hamidu Garba Sharubutu represented by the executive director of the Institute for Agric Research and Training, IAR&T, Ibadan, Dr Veronica Obatolu charged researchers to focus on productivity and not promotion in their office.

Professor Sharubutu solicited more outstations to enable the Institute reach more farmers in rural areas. He added that the federal government was encouraging more collaborations to address the challenges facing food security.

He pointed out the need for Agricultural Research Institutes to align, and share technologies to achieve, zero hunger, increase productivity and ultimately higher income.

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