Stakeholders gather to Unlock the Potentials in World Millet Value Chain

By Ene Okwanihe, Abuja

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Stakeholders in the agriculture sector gathered to chart a pathway for unlocking the nutritional and economic potentials of the Millet value chain at the Inaugural Seminar Celebrating the International Year of Millets 2023 in Nigeria.

The event which held in Abuja Nigeria’s capital city had in the attendance international communities and stakeholders across the Nigeria

It was put together by The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).

The FAO Representative in Nigeria and to ECOWAS Mr. Fred Kafeero, in his opening remark said event offers an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss and spotlight the untapped potentials of millet to nutrition and the growth of the economy

“Today we seize the opportunity yet again, to spotlight the untapped opportunities within Nigeria’s agricultural sector and reinvigorate the role of millets as a key driver of economic growth, social development, and environmental sustainability.”

According to Kafeero Millets plays an important role in the sustenance and nourishment of communities across the globe with India being the largest producers of millet.

“They are resilient crops that have withstood the test of time, adapting to various agro ecological conditions and feeding generations.

“We recognize their immense nutritional value and their contribution to food security, poverty alleviation, and sustainable agriculture.”

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and rural Development in Nigeria who was represented by the Director Tree/Crop, Mr. Bernard Ukattah said the event is a global initiative that aims to create awareness about the importance of millet and its remarkable potential in addressing food security challenges.

“It is indeed heartening to know that millet, a grain deeply rooted in our collective heritage, feeds over 500 million people worldwide, making it an invaluable crop in the fight against hunger and malnutrition.

“Furthermore, millet’s versatility makes it a perfect candidate for innovation and entrepreneurship. Its application ranges from being a hearty grain in traditional cuisines to a vital ingredient in beverages and bakery products.”

Speaking on the economic potentials of millet to Nigeria and the world he said millet which has $12 billion market value, has the potential to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 2,3,12 and 13.

“The world’s millet market value is estimated to surpass $12 billion by 2025, according to Global Market Insights Inc. This demonstrates the immense economic potential that lies within the millet industry.

“Additionally, according to ICRISAT, more than 90 million people in Africa and Asia depend on millet, while 500 million people in over 30 countries rely on sorghum as a staple food.”