Sorghum association targets 1mn tonnes production

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Sorghum Farmers Association of Nigeria (SOFAN), says it is targeting one million metric tonnes production of the produce in the next cropping season.

The President of the association, Lawal Gada, made the disclosure in Maiduguri.

Gada said that sorghum farmers would be supported under the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrower Porgramme (ABP).

He  said that sorghum growers had been producing less than one million tonnes annually,  necessitating  importation  of the produce.

He said that the association had so far registered 300, 000 farmers in 12 states, adding that 54, 000 of them were accredited to participate under the ABP.

Gada said each of the participating farmers would be expected to cultivate two hectares.

He said that accreditation was in progress to mobilise participation in the programme.

Benefiting states

He listed the participating states as Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.

SOFAN registered 300, 000 farmers while the National Association of Sorghum Sellers and Processors Association of Nigeria (NASSPAN) registered 30, 000 members.

“We envisage a significant  increase in sorghum production to more than  one million metric tonnes through formal and informal activities in the 2019/2020 cropping season.

“The national demand of sorghum is more than  three million metric tonnes; we are trying to bridge the two million gap by increasing our production capacity,” he said.

On farmers’ support services, Gada said that each farmer would receive inputs such as  fertiliser, seeds, chemicals and money for labour, under the programme.

Gada said that the association, in collaboration with ABP and agriculture research institutes, was providing extension services to farmers on modern methods of farming and preservation as well as promote processing and enterprising skills.

He said that the association had adopted proactive measures to ensure timely inputs distribution to farmers to boost productivity and reduce losses.

According to him, sorghum provides a source of raw materials to confectioneries, flour mills, breweries and pharmaceuticals.

Border closure

Gada lauded Nigeria’s closure of its landed  borders, saying that it would encourage  production, create market, and enhance value addition as well as processing of local produce.

ABP is a critical component of the Federal Government’s agriculture transformation agenda designed to encourage production and processing to achieve self-sufficiency.

It is also aimed at enhancing  farmers’ access to fertiliser, seeds and other inputs, as well as promote farmers’ enterprising skills, value addition and creation of market for the produce.

The programme is being implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria, in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture, Nigeria Agriculture Insurance Corporation, farmers associations and designated agricultural input dealers otherwise called private anchors.