Plateau Government, UNIJOS Partner To Phase Out Potato Blight Diseaseeducation, Letters/Rejoinders, News Monday, August 4th, 2014
Agabus Pwanagba, Jos
Following the potato blight disease which has destroyed over 1000 hectares of Irish potato farms in Plateau State, the University of Jos (UNIJOS) is partnering the State Government on investment to stamp out the disease.
UNIJOS Vice Chancellor (VC), Professor Hayward Mafuyai, said the collaboration became necessary in order to fight the scourge which devastating effect has resulted to decline in the State’s economy.
Professor Mafuyai stated this in Jos, the state capital at the opening of a one-day stakeholders’ forum with the focus on: “Potato Production in the Plateau; Current Challenges and Prospect” on Monday.
The VC who was represented by Director, Office of Research and Development (ORD), Professor Pam Sha, said, “UNIJOS is concerned because of the adverse effect it has brought to the people”.
“Farmers are witnessing low yields, consumers are taking poor quality products and the low output has led to reduced supply to domestic and some markets in the West African region”, said Professor Mafuyai
He reiterated the Institution’s commitment of becoming a research intensive University, while calling on other State Governments which the citadel is their catchment area, to collaborate with it to find solutions to the problems confronting the country.
In his remarks, Plateau State Commissioner for Agriculture, Stephen Barko, said over 1000 hectares of Potato farms had been attacked by the blight in the current year.
Barko lamented that the situation got worsen when 500 hectares of the crop were ravaged by the disease in Bokkos Local Government. He hinted that the State Government was collaborating with the National Seed Council, revealing it was difficult for it to address the scourge alone.
He revealed that the Ministry had written a letter of intent to the African Development Bank (ADB) which he said was ready to commit its remaining N10 Million on the project.
Barko informed that the funds and some inputs had been given to potato farmers to enable them increase the production of the crop.
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