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SME Guide

Standardising Millet Production for a Climate-Resilient Future in Nigeria

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) emphasised the importance of establishing standardised production and quality control measures for millets grown across Nigeria.

During a validation workshop on micronutrient standards and millet variety registration held in Abuja, ICRISAT’s Country Representative, Angarawai Ignatius, highlighted millet’s potential as a critical crop in the face of climate change.

“Millet, particularly the pearl variety, is projected to be the sole cereal crop capable of withstanding temperatures as high as 45 degrees Celsius,” Ignatius stated. “This resilience to climate change is why the United Nations declared 2023 the International Year of Millets.”

He further emphasised the nutritional benefits of millet consumption, citing the traditional Indian practice of incorporating millets into a bride’s diet for improved health.

“In Nigeria, our focus is on standardising the release process for pearl millet production to ensure its commercial viability,” Ignatius concluded.

Yusuf Dollah, Director General of HarvestPlus Nigeria, echoed the need for standardization. HarvestPlus is an organization dedicated to developing biofortified crops rich in essential micronutrients like zinc and iron.

“For over a decade, HarvestPlus has championed biofortified crops to address micronutrient deficiencies, particularly among vulnerable populations,” Dollah explained. “We currently offer iron- and zinc-rich millets, with ongoing research on biofortified zinc rice.”

Dollah stressed the importance of establishing minimum micronutrient standards for these biofortified varieties.

“Standardisation is crucial,” he said. “It ensures that any released biofortified variety meets a minimum threshold of micronutrients and vitamins.”

Professor Shehu Ado, Chairman of the Technical Sub-committee on Crops for Nigeria’s National Committee on Registration and Release of Crop Varieties, echoed the need for standardisation in light of the country’s food security goals.

By implementing these recommendations, Nigeria can position itself as a leader in standardised, climate-resilient millet production, promoting both food security and improved nutrition for its citizens.

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