NIGER STATE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE INDUSTRIES MINES AND AGRICULTURE SEEKS COLLABORATION WITH RMRDC ON SHEA NUT DEVELOPMENT.
The President of the Niger State Chamber of Commerce Industries Mines and Agriculture, Mr Adamu Salihu, paid a courtesy call on the Director General RMRDC, Dr Hussaini Doko Ibrahim on Monday 20th February, 2017 at the RMRDC Headquarters, Abuja.
The meeting began around 2.pm at the COD Room, and in attendance were the DG RMRDC, Director Technology Development Department, Dr Mohammed Lawal Buga, Director Planning and Policy Department, Mrs Hajara Yahaya Tanko,Director Finance and Budget, Mr A.H. Mohammed, Deputy Director Investment and Coordinator RMRDC Shea Butter Project, Ms Ruth Indagawa and Assistant Director, DG’s Office, Mr Sayyuti Lapai Wali.
The President of the Chamber of Commerce commended the DG RMRDC for his efforts geared at projecting the Council and aimed at improving the lives of Nigerians. He said the Chamber of Commerce is interested in collaborating with the Council so that together, they can bring to fore the efforts of government in poverty alleviation within the entity. He also said Niger State has competitive advantage in growing Shea nut and is in fact, the largest producer of the crop in the country and added that they desire to partner RMRDC in the development of shea nut and also in other areas where partnership will be beneficial to both parties. He expressed gratitude at the warm reception by the DG and promised to deliver good news at home.
The DG RMRDC in his response said that he appreciates the visit and commended their timeliness. He requested them to convey his sincere regards to His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, regretting his inability in not having been able to schedule a visit to his Excellency. He informed the team that RMRDC collaborates with a number of organizations even though most are universities and Research Institutes. He said the Council is currently working with the Federal University of Technology, Minna, seeking to establish a Research Institute on Shea Nut Development. He also informed them that another meeting has been proposed between the Council and FUT Minna and will be expanded to accommodate other stakeholders of which NIGCCIMA is part.
The DG further informed them that Shea Butter Development is one of Council’s Strategic Projects and the RMRDC has carried out several capacity building training on Shea Butter Development in Niger State and has even fabricated machinery for processing the nut. He revealed that Niger State should actually be a hub of Shea Butter processing considering it has wide opportunities for the production of the entire value chain. He assured the Chamber of Commerce of the Council’s willingness to partner with them so that best agronomic practices can be maintained from start to finish in order to ensure the commodity meets international standards of export.
In another development, he informed the Chamber of Commerce that there are plenty of crops in abundance in Niger State and that RMRDC has a sweet sorghum project in the state, with intention to explore the entire sweet sorghum value chain comprising ethanol, sugar, biscuit etc. He said the Council already has a large farm in Tegina, growing the sweet sorghum variety from China, and which was tested at Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, to ensure its compatibility with the local specie. He further said there are challenges with procuring process equipment because of the exchange rate but also said other options were being considered.
The president of the Chamber of Commerce said they were boosting the sweet potato and introducing it in schools, urging the schools to use the plant as perimeter fencing. He enquired if the Council had any project on the crop.
The DG informed them that the Council presented vines of orange – fleshed potato to farmers last planting season and hopes to do so again this planting season.
Dr M. L Buga asked about the level of indigenous technology and what the Chamber of Commerce is doing to harness it. The president said they were working closely with the brass workers in the promotion of indigenous technology and had wanted to collaborate with the former state government and build indigenous technology methods of processing artifacts into the state tourism sector. He said the arrangement did not come to fruition because elections took place and a new government came into power. He however said the project was back on the front burner as the new government has been briefed and the process is on.