Says agriculture’ll cushion effect

POFAN plans training, empowerment of Nigerians after COVID-19

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

The Potato farmers association of Nigeria, POFAN, Tuesday, disclosed plans of training and empowering interested Nigerians on the potato value chain after containment of the Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic.

This was stated by the National President, POFAN, Daniel Okafor, while speaking on the lucrative and economic potential the potato value chain, which can ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians and open new vista of their lives as far as agribusiness is concerned.

Okafor also said the association has been into training of groups including churches and others, which are now reaping the benefits.

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According to him Catholic Bishop of Bomadi, Delta State, about two years ago contacted the association to train over 200 members of his members including farmers and marketers of different crops from Delta and Bayelsa States on sweet-potato, which was a week long programme with technical and practical sessions focusing mainly on the wonder crop, Orange-Fleshed Sweet-Potato, OFSP, on how to use it in production of different confectioneries was led by the training team leader, POFAN, Nkechi Okafor, and her team.

He said: “It is really pathetic that this coronavirus pandemic took the entire world unawares and farmers are not spared including their business.

“But it is important to mention that there will be terrible hunger across the world because human lives in millions have been killed by the deadly virus which a lot of smallholder farmers who feed the world are also gone.

“Now who will go to the farms to produce food including those who own big farms? I am envisaging that most countries who are food producing giants would not like to export food because there will be more food importation orders beyond what they have.

“It is wise Nigerians and the government to prepare and go to the farms for food production and also to make money. We in Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria, POFAN, is out to build human capacity along the potato value chain, and we have been doing it over the years.

“We will train people on production and management of Orange-Fleshed Sweet-Potato, OFSP, in production of different confectionaries, and others.

“We organize training on everything you ever wanted to know about sweet-potato.  We are already planning training for interested Nigerians after the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be to restore hope of survival and self-sufficiency of Nigerians, especially now a lot of businesses are disrupted, and there will be orders for sweet-potato and other agricultural products.

“We have been to other states for training before the pandemic struck in Nigeria. We had a week long programme training on Orange Flesh Sweet-Potato,  OFSP, in Bomadi, Delta State that was sponsored by the Catholic Bishop of Bomadi Diocese whose premises was used for the training.

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“It involved both farmers and marketers of different crops. The training cut across farmers and marketers from Delta and some part of Bayelsa States respectively. It had both technical and practical demonstrated sessions on the production and management of sweet-potato.

“It covered the entire potato value chain, which focused mainly on the wonder crop and the participants were thought on how to use orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) in production of different confectioneries. The training was done by POFAN training team led by the team leader, Mrs Nkechi Okafor. It was a wonderful training as all the participants were overwhelmed including the sponsor.”

The POFAN boss also added that agribusiness is not a dirty job but lucrative business that creates job, gives financial freedom, sustains the economy, and everybody eats food everyday, and there is ready market for orange flesh sweet-potato, because of healing property it contains.

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