ICRISAT Advocates for Standardization of Millet Production in Nigeria

The International Crops Research Institute for Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has underscored the importance of producing and standardizing millets across Nigeria to address climate change challenges and promote healthy living. Speaking at a validation workshop on micronutrient standards for millet varieties in Abuja, the Country Representative of ICRISAT, Angarawai Ignatius, highlighted millet’s resilience to climate change and its significance in sustaining humanity.

In Nigeria, pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) and finger millet (Eleusine coracana) are the two major types of millets cultivated, with pearl millet being the most widely grown variety, particularly in the northern states. Ignatius emphasized the crucial role of millets, especially pearl millet, in withstanding extreme temperatures, citing its importance in ensuring food security in regions prone to dry land conditions.

Referring to the United Nations’ declaration of 2023 as the International Year of Millet, Ignatius stressed the cultural and nutritional significance of millets, citing traditions in India where millet consumption is valued, especially for newly married women. In Nigeria, efforts are underway to standardize the production and release process of pearl millet to make it commercially available and promote its consumption.

Yusuf Dollah, Director General of HarvestPlus Nigeria, highlighted the organization’s efforts in developing biofortified crops, including millets enriched with zinc and iron. Dollah emphasized the importance of raising the standards in millet production to ensure consistent levels of micronutrients and vitamins in biofortified crops, thus promoting healthy growth, particularly among vulnerable groups.

Prof. Shehu Ado, Chairman of the Technical Sub-committee Crops at the National Committee on Registration and Release of Crop Varieties, Livestock Breeds, and Fisheries, stressed the need for standardization to enhance food security. Ado emphasized the importance of breeding pearl millet varieties with high iron and zinc content to meet the nutritional needs of the population.


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