The federal government has signed a multimillion naira agreement with the International Crop Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics, ICRISAT, for the development of sorghum and millet production in Nigeria.
Under the agreement, the Consulting Group for International Agricultural Research, CGIAR, will provide N2 million monthly annually in foreign currency over long period of time.
According to sources, the project, known as the West African Sorghum Programme is to be located in Kano. The research institute the sources said will help develop sorghum and millet production in Nigeria by developing breeding lines for small-holders.
International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, ICRISAT, mad attempt in 1979 to set up sorghum programme in Nigeria. The programme was discontinued then due to financial constraint.
Under the new arrangement, the federal government is expected to provide operational facilities including land for the institute‚Äôs projects.
The federal government has also pledged its continued commitment to the success of this programme. Sorghum among its many uses can be mixed with wheat for bread production or as substitute for barley in the brewing of beer.
Experts now see the move as a step in the right direction. They argue that with the ban on wheat and barley in force, the only way out of the present impasse is to develop a strong substitute base.
The programme when fully operational, it is believed, will meet the barley and malt needs of the brewing, food and beverages sector.
Industrial sources said that the local raw materials base for sorghum production is ripe and the institute though a long tie project will further improve on the quality of sorghum and boost production.