The National Horticultural Research Institute, Ibadan, recently trained farmers on plantain and pineapple value chain.
The training was facilitated by the member of House of Representatives representing Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal Constituency of Delta State, Ossai Nicholas Ossai.
He said he chose to empower his people, who are majorly farmers, in plantain and pineapple farming because that is an area they have comparative advantage.
Ossai added that training them on the value chain development of these crops will generate “ more income for their families, help to improve their lives, promote cottage industries and generate employment.
He added: “It will increase Nigeria’s GDP and bring revenue to the state.”
Ossai noted that this is also the direction of the agriculture development policy of the General Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He said the farmers trained will be given starter kits to put the knowledge gained into action.
On his part, Dr. Abayomi Akeem Olaniyan, Ag Executive Director, NIHORT, represented by the Director of Research in the Institute, Dr. Stephen Afolayan, said that plantain and pineapple were important horticultural commodities, adding that horticulture remained a source of household income and employment generation.
He disclosed that it takes usually small size of land to cultivate vegetables and fruit vegetables and within a short period, to make huge income and generate further employment.
He said horticulture as an aspect of agriculture, consists of production and development of vegetables, fruit vegetables, fruit trees, spices and ornamentals – flowers.
Afolayan appealed to the last batch of 100 farmers from the Ndowa East Local Government area to take the training, adding that Ndokwa East local Government is the highest plantain producing local government area in Nigeria.
“We have engaged our experts from the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) to train the farmers in various ways of growing plantain suckers, pineapple suckers and utilising these crops for different purposes,” he said
Dr. Lawrence Olajide, the programme coordinator, also said the training would expose participants on what it takes to cultivate plantain and pineapple through processing and maintenance and marketing to make money.
“Here in Delta state, we have trained train 400 farmers on horticultural value chain. In the next five years, if we continue the way we are going, horticulture will add about 10 per cent to whatever agriculture adds to the country’s GDP,” he said.
The training session which was held in Kwale, Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State, drew trainees from the three Local Government Areas of Ndokwa/Ukwuani federal constituency, that is Ndokwa West, Ndokwa East, Ukwani. And also from Ika Local Government area. A