Alhaji Aliyu Maitasamu-Isah, President, National Onion Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NOPPMAN) has called for increased production of onions so as to plug the deficit of 1.1 million tonnes in local demand in the country.

Maitasamu-Isah made the call while exchanging views with newsmen shortly after the inauguration of the North Central executives of NOPPMAN, in Lafia, on Thursday.

He said that the 1.4 million metric tonnes of onions currently being produced in the country annually was not enough to meet the demands of Nigerians, hence the call for increased production to meet the 2.5 metric tonnes required for local consumption.

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The president, however, said that government’s support would be needed to achieve the target and to enable the massive exportation of the commodity to countries like India, which, he said, had high demand for it.

“The challenges we are facing is as a result of lack of good storage facilities, among other challenges.

“If government can intervene to assist farmers to access inputs and facilities for production, while also helping them to improve on their storage facilities, then we can be able to meet the demands.

“We are producing 1.4 metric tonnes, but what we need is 2.5 metric tonnes. Apart from that we are still exporting.

“So, we need support and empowerment from government because we need to step up our production to meet the demands,” he said.

Maitasamu-Isah explained that the association chose Nasarawa state for the inauguration, because of the efforts made by the Gov. Abdullahi Sule-led administration in terms of security, as well as the state being the second largest producer of onions in the North Central zone, after Plateau state.

In another interview, Justice Sidi Bage I (Rtd), the Emir of Lafia, lauded the association for holding the event in the state and for also willing to educate farmers in the state on the right techniques in onion production.

He called on farmers to take the advantage of the knowledge that would be shared with them on onions production to increase their production.

“Nasarawa state was specifically chosen as a new destination for the production of onions, because of security challenges bedevilling traditional places known for production of onions such as the North West and North East zones of the country.

“So, with their coming here for this event and to share knowledge on onions, the gate is now open for us in Nasarawa state and we must take advantage of it because they are bringing in the techniques and training to farmers.

“The advantages of this development are enormous. It will boost economic activities. It will also open us up to having more people coming in here to do business. The advantages are too enormous to mention,” he said.

Executives of the Association from the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi, Plateau and Benue states were inaugurated at the event. (NAN)

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