Abuja – The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development says it is collaborating with the private sector to produce high-energy food that would reduce malnutrition and create foreign investment opportunities in the country.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said this at the 2013 Ministerial Platform in Abuja.
According to Adesina, the high-energy food, which will be produced from the combination of maize, sorghum and soybeans, will be sold to World Food Programme (WFP).
“98 per cent of all the high-energy foods used by the World Food Programme are imported by Asia into Africa but what we need to do is to take maize, sorghum and soya; mix them together into high energy foods.
“Nigeria, by the way, we are the largest producer of sorghum and we want be the largest processor of sorghum in the world, so we decided to focus on sorghum.
“If you look in the north-west and north-east of Nigeria, you will find out that we have the highest level of malnutrition in those areas.
“Those areas are also the highest producers of sorghum in the country. They account for 80 per cent of the production of sorghum.
“We are working with the private sector to take the sorghum and process it into the high-energy foods. We have already secured contract with WFP to buy the high-energy foods from Nigeria.’’
Adesina said that for the country to remain the largest producer of sorghum and also to become its largest processor, the Federal Government had distributed 1000 tonnes of sorghum seeds to farmers.
He said that the seeds were planted on 100, 000 hectares of farmland.
According to him, the Federal Government “released two varieties that are very high yielding and will give farmers yields of almost five times or more of what they used to get’’.
He, however, said that the Federal Government was also collaborating with the private sector to produce drinks from this crop in order to boost the economy of the country.
WFP is the United Nations frontline agency in the fight against global hunger.
The organisation aims to provide food assistance to more than 90 million people in over 70 countries annually. (NAN)