With the international community pouring aid into Palestine, Nigeria should have positioned herself to be the number one supplier as their main staple is couscous made from millet and sorghum

Ayo Akinfe

[1] I am sure that a lot of you are asking yourselves what futures awaits the Palestinians as about 10,000 of them have been killed, over 1 million have been displaced and their homes have been reduced to rubble over the last month. These poor people have been to hell and back and the Arab league appears clueless about what to do

[2] The last time we saw devastation on this scale was during World War Two when entire cities were bombed, almost out of existence. Coventry, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, London, Dresden, Tokyo, Gorky and Warsaw all witnessed the horrors the people of Gaza City are facing today during World War Two

[3] One small piece of good news we have is that Israel has agreed to allow food aid into Gaza. This is where Nigeria should be showing that she the largest black nation on earth. Most Arab nations are too arid to produce a food surplus and most other temperate nations that produce grains like millet, sorghum, maize, rice, etc, are too far away from Gaza

[4] Like most Arabs, couscous is the main staple the Palestinians. It is made from grains like millet and sorghum, which Nigeria has the capacity to produce and supply in abundance

[5] Two years ago, the United Nations General Assembly at its 75th session in March 2021 declared 2023 the International Year of Millets. It was precisely to encourage nations like Nigeria to step up production

[6] Do you know that Nigeria is the world’s second largest millet producer with a yearly crop of 5m tonnes. However, how many processing plants do we have and what sort of export structure do we have in place?

[7] We are also the world’s second largest producer of miller’s twin crop sorghum. Nigeria has an annual output of 7m tonnes of sorghum

[8] Both of these crops are widely produced across the northwest and they are key to the establishment of breweries. It is time for brewing plants to start springing up in their dozens across the seven states of northwest Nigeria

[9] President Tinubu needs to hold the UN to its word about 2003 being the international year of millet. He should be asking that this declaration be backed up with loans for small farmers, the supply of agricultural equipment and the establishment of processing plants

[10] Apart from being a food source, millet and sorghum could also spur the development of processing plants across Nigeria. One of the beauties of millet and sorghum is that they are more or less wholly cash crops. If we invite the likes of Heineken, Molson Coors, Castel and Carlsberg to come and open breweries in say Sokoto, Birnin-Kebbi, Gusau, Kano, Daura, Zaria and Hadeija, we will be able to guarantee the supply of almost our entire crop