NIGERIA – The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Breweries Plc on the development and commercialisation of hybrid sorghum in the country.

At the signing ceremony at the weekend in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, explained that the agreement was intended to increase the number of out-grower farmers engaged by Nigerian Breweries Plc from the initial 250,000 to 2.5million.

Adesina said the Nigerian Breweries through its research activities developed a sorghum hybrid that is able to yield four metric tonnes per hectare against the average yield of 0.5metric tonnes of farmers.

He added that the Federal Government would be working with the company’s plant breeders to ensure that farmers have access to high quality seeds of sorghum.

According to him, “there would be a sorghum seed development system collaboration with the Nigerian Seed Council and the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics.

While stressing the importance of taking advantage of stomach infrastructure to develop economic infrastructure, Adesina noted that the huge population of Nigeria would help create wealth and revive the rural economy.

Also speaking, the Chairman Nigerian Breweries Plc, Kola Jamodu, decried a situation that many Nigerians have developed taste for what is not produced in the country, noting that Nigeria has no reason to depend on imported food for survival.

Jamodu said the company believes in local sourcing of its raw materials, through which jobs are created and the company has been able to provide jobs for 250,000 local farmers who produce hybrid sorghum.

He pointed out that the company has invested heavily over the years in the research and development of hybrid sorghum aimed at improving sorghum productivity through breeding and selection programmes.

He expressed optimism that the partnership with the Federal Government would further expand and strengthen the company’s efforts in developing the sorghum value chain in Nigeria.

Jamodu pledged the commitment of the Nigerian Breweries to deploy the high yield sorghum seeds for large scale commercial production to support Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the present administration.

October 27, 2014;