By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria
The Director, Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Professor Ibrahim Umar has described agriculture as an economic diversification of Nigeria which took the country of recession.
He stated this at the opening ceremony of the training of women on maize production, processing and marketing sponsored by Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources organized by the Institute for Agricultural Research.
Professor Umar said, maize is a buyable crop in Africa not only for human consumption but even the poultry industry are the major consumers of the produce which made it a source of Nigerian economic growth.
According to him, women need to be trained in various farming aspects, since they are the major stakeholders in diversifying maize into various aspects of use.
The Director also said, the Institute as a research centre has been working on maize since 1962 and as at today, IAR has produced many varieties that accommodate all kinds of environment and strings tolerance which gave to yielded farm produce.
He said, the Institute for Agricultural Research is supporting the agricultural transformation programmes 0f the present administration.
Professor Umar charged the participants to be attentive during the session and on returning back home they should be able to train other women who are not opportune to attend the training.
In her message at the occasion, the Director, Department of Agricultural Extension Services, Mrs. Karima I. Babangida represented by Hajia Sugra Mahmud, said the present administration recognizes the need to harness and mobilize the resources of Nigerians into actionable agricultural programmes that are people centred in order to make meaningful impact on the ceremony.
According to her, the training is under one such programmes namely the youths and women in agribusiness investment programme, which seeks to capacitate beneficiaries with requisite skills to undertake enterprise along different priority value chains that have food and nutrition security as well as import substitution potential in line with the pillars of the green alternative.
She said, the focus on women and youths is a very strategic one as a woman account for about 40% of the country’s population while youths account for over 62%.
Mrs. Babangida draw the attention of participants to the fact that maize is one of the important staple crops in Nigeria, not only on the basis of numbers of farmers that engaged in its cultivation but also in its for food security and economic value.
Also maize a crop that on which many agro-based industrial depends on as raw materials especially the feed and food processing industries.
The Director was optimistic that the basic approach that will be employed in this maize production, processing and packaging training workshop will be a participatory hand on training which has 65% practical session and 35% theory which will enhance comprehension, quick understanding of the production concepts.
She advised the trainees to show a high level of participation, involvement and seriousness during all the activities associated with the training so that they can fully integrate.