October 2023 (Jos Plateau, Nigeria) The National Potato Strategy for Nigeria was launched to usher in a new era for Nigeria’s potato industry capable of delivering sustainable food and nutrition security, fostering trade surplus, and boosting incomes.
At its core, the strategy recognizes that the potato value chain in Nigeria faces a complex of challenges. To overcome these hurdles and unlock the sector’s full potential, the strategy combines key players, harmonizes their efforts, and harnesses their collective strengths.
At the launch event, distinguished speakers amplified the call for action. Engineer A. G Abubakar, representing the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS), explained the untapped possibilities of potato commercialization in Nigeria. Dr. Markus Wagner, GIZ Country Director, also echoed this and vividly depicted the strategy as a catalyst—a blueprint for action. He underscored the critical role of ensuring quality seed access and sector-wide coordination through strategic partnerships.
At the launch, a panel discussion was convened, centering on the outcomes of the strategy. Panelists emphasized several crucial considerations essential for the successful implementation of the strategy. Mrs. Aghotorb Patricia, Desk Officer of the Potato Value Chain at FMAFS, emphasized that staff capacity development, research funding, and infrastructure enhancement are key aspects to consider for the successful implementation of the strategy. Dr. Charles Amadi, Director of the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), pledged unwavering support for certified seed production and extensive partnerships to successfully implement the strategy. Mr. Steve Bawa, Vice Chair of the National Potato Multi-Stakeholders and Investors Platform, spoke about the historical neglect of the potato sector and the pressing need to unite stakeholders. He said successful strategy implementation is poised to elevate the crop profile, creating opportunities for all involved.
The Green Innovation Centre (AFCI-GIZ) pledged to support capacity development at all levels, propelling production, value addition, and marketing through innovation. Dr. Kalpana Sharma, Senior Scientist at the International Potato Center (CIP), spotlighted the importance of technology deployment and civil society’s involvement in transforming the potato agrifood system. She envisioned an enabling environment to facilitate youth engagement through mechanization, digital platforms, market access and value chain development, and potentially private-sector investment.
The National Potato Strategy is poised to drive deliberate change, incentivize stakeholders, and foster innovation in a commercially oriented potato sector. It aspires to transform Nigeria’s potato industry into a vibrant and sustainable contributor to food security, trade, and income generation for all involved.
The strategy’s launch was made possible through generous funding from FMAFS, GIZ, CIP, and the CGAIR initiative on National Policies and Strategies.