A greenhouse farming expert, Mr Chuba Chukwuka, has reiterated the benefits of greenhouse farming in the protection of crops from ultraviolet sun rays and pests.
Chukwuka made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Saturday.
The expert said the benefits of the greenhouse farming system was the protection of plants and crops from ultraviolet sun rays, amongst other benefits.
“The idea behind it is aimed at the limiting of ultraviolet sun rays that hit the crops and plants being cultivated.
“The most important aspect of greenhouse farming system is that it stops the ultraviolet rays that are not healthy for plants in general.
“The average greenhouse farm filters the sun that gets to the plants; so what goes to the plant is exactly what it needs from the sun. The greenhouse bounces back the rays that are not required.
“They also promotes pest control because the ground of the farm is covered with net. Insects are major challenge to farming; so with the nets we prevent pest invasion to a large extent.
“Even though a few insects still find their way into the greenhouse farm, it is not the same as in traditional farming.
“Basically greenhouse protects crops from the dangers of ultraviolet sun rays and against pests and insects,” he said.
Chukwuka also noted that greenhouse crops were more healthy and fresher than those cultivated traditionally.
“They can be both organic and inorganic depending on the farmer’s preference. You can cultivate your crops naturally or infuse fertilisers if you prefer.
“Their crops are different from traditionally-cultivated crops because they are well protected. Greenhouse crops look healthier and fresher than traditionally grown crops.
“When crops are protected from what endangers them, they spend their energy growing and turn out well. When you see a fruit from the greenhouse, it is fresher, more luscious and bigger.
“When plants spend their time fighting insects or effects of ultraviolet rays, they end up stunted and not growing as well as they should,” Chukwuka said.
He said adoption of greenhouse technology in farming could assist in reducing the increasing food gap in the country as the population continues to grow faster than food production.
“Nigeria is currently populated by 200 million people who must be fed.
“However, there is still much demand-supply gap in most of its food; even as the population growth rate stands at about 2.6 per cent per annum,” he said
Chukwuka added that the cultivation period for crops in the greenhouse and those cultivated traditionally were in the same duration but greenhouse crops stood a better chance.
“The same cultivation period is actually used to cultivate both in the greenhouse and traditionally; all things being equal.
“In traditional farming the challenges faced by the crops from pests and ultraviolet rays, may slow their cultivation process.
“I think more farmers should adopt greenhouse farming but most are reluctant to adopt it because of the cost intensiveness and technical know-how.
“However it is advisable that most local farmers adopt greenhouse farming systems to cut their losses,” he added.
NAN reports that Greenhouse farming is a system of farming in which crops are cultivated in an enclosed environment.
This enclosed structure is called a greenhouse.
It is a building with glass sides and a glass roof; although it can also be constructed using plastic. (NAN)