ABUJA – The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Abuja on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nigerian Breweries (NB) Plc on sorghum development.
At the ceremony, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said Nigeria was the largest producer of food sorghum in the world.
Adesina said food sorghum had remained a low value crop that was only produced for subsistence but could be used for many things when processed.
He said in the last three years, government had facilitated access to hybrid seeds for 96,000 sorghum farmers and expressed the hope that the agreement would upscale the number to 2.5 million farmers.
The minister said that the MoU involved farmers being assisted with finance and organised into clusters to enable them to produce ,while NB would buy the produce for value addition.
He said that Nigerian Breweries had developed two varieties of hybrid sorghum that would yield four tonnes per hectare and that the ministry was ready to enable farmers to have access to it.
“I will like to commend you for being a company who believes in Nigerian crops, and Nigerian farmers and is innovative enough to help us add value to what we produce,’’ Adesina said.
He said that in spite of the government’s efforts in developing agriculture, there were still pockets of malnutrition cases in some parts of the north.
He said high-energy foods were needed to address the challenge and that sorghum, maize and soybeans were such and were abundant in the country.
Earlier, the NB Chairman, Mr Kola Jamudu, said the company used sorghum to produce beer and malt drink.
Jamudu said that NB had a culture of poverty reduction through job creation in countries where it operated.
According to him, NB buys sorghum from 250,000 farmers and so creates market and wealth for local farmers.
The chairman said he had no doubt that the partnership with the ministry would further advance the progress made in the sorghum value chain.
He pledged NB’s commitment to the development of sorghum and urged the ministry to ensure its sustainability. (NAN)