FG INTRODUCES ROOT AND TUBER EXPANSION PROGRAMME II
The Minister of Agriculture Professor Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah said the Federal Government in partnership with donor agencies for the Root and Tuber Expansion Programme (RTEP) has introduced a second phase of the programme (RTEP II) to consolidate successes recorded in the first phase, RTEP I.
Addressing participants yesterday in Abuja at a donors' roundtable meeting on the second phase of the programme, the minister said that the development of root and tuber crops would impact on the lives of local farmers because 65 percent of them are involved in the cultivation of such crops.
According to him, the first phase of the programme has led to the development of wide varieties of root and tuber crops such as potatoes, yams, cassava among others.
He said the production of tuber crops has gone up since the introduction of the RTEP I in 2000-2010 with yams rising from 26.451 to 37.822 metric tons, cassava 36.795 to 52.006 and sweet potatoes from 120,000 to 2020, 000 metric tons.
'It is expected that the programme would be built on solid rural enterprise management. There is still much to be done in the development of root and tuber crops which the second phase would address,' he said.
Programme Manager of RTEP, Ola Murtala Jimoh said the programme has helped many local farmers to increase their production of root and tuber crops using improved varieties.
He said it is hoped that the problem of production growth experienced each year by farmers after harvest would be addressed by the second phase of the programme.