Sunday, 15 April 2018


In its determination to strategically create and empower agricpreneurs through sustainable genetic improvement, production, processing, storage, utilisation and marketing of tropical fruits, vegetables, spices and ornamental plants, the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan in conjunction with Kord Resources Nigeria Limited has completed a three-day training programme for farmers in Ogun and Oyo States.

The training opened new opportunities for farmers to learn newer techniques on how to improve the value chain production of plantain, banana and ginger to meet the international best practice.

The three-day programme which was held at the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority in Abeokuta, Ogun State, was expected to not only innovatively increase value chain production and yield of plantain, banana and ginger but to also open a new vista of opportunities for farmers to access ready-made market for their export products.

Speaking at the value chain capacity building programme, the Acting Executive Director, National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan, Dr. Abayomi Olaniyan, said the value chain capacity training was focused on plantain, banana and ginger to improve some production techniques, water management, economy of production, and processing of the crops among others.

According to Olaniyan, “Statistics shows that Nigeria is the fifth largest producer of plantain in the world and to maximise this potential we have to invest in areas of crop advantage by bringing in farmers in the key sector to make use of the programme to improve the value chain.

“This programme will train people in the plantain, banana and ginger value chain to use different techniques to generate income and maximise yields in the production processes. It is also to create job for our teeming unemployed youths.”

The NIHORT boss also revealed that Nigeria-grown ginger is one of the best in the world market with ready-made market. “It was on this premise that we deliberately focused on each zone’s comparative advantage (agricultural products) to fashion a wealth-driven value chain to get the product ready for export.

“The crops we have added to the value chain capacity building programme have different stages of production which the farmers must know to get a required yield for harvest. So we are training farmers on the best practice acceptable in the world market; considering the fertilizer rate, pets and seeds control to get the global standards of export products.

“We are also not stopping at training the farmers and participants on value chain of plantain, banana and ginger alone but we are also providing them with starter kits to help them start something immediate we conclude the training process,” he said.

The NIHORT boss added that after the South-West training the team will be moving to the South-South and South-East for the zone sets of training on other agricultural products, adding that two weeks ago the North Central had their schedule of the zonal training.

The programme coordinator, Dr. Olajide Taiwo, in his remarks said that the value chain training on plantain, banana and ginger will help participants in the areas of production, processing, packaging and marketing.

He said, “Basically this programme is to train people on how to create wealth from plantain, banana and ginger and a step forward to reduce unemployment, scarcity of materials and other agriculture challenges in the country. And essentially we want you to acquire skills that will enable you to create jobs and wealth from the value chain of plantain, banana and ginger.”

Speaking on the gap that exists in the agricultural value chain in Nigeria, Dr. Sadiat Babalola, a resource person from NIHORT, said the gaps are of various aspects, which she itemised as, production activities, gap from moving from the traditional way of doing things; in making and producing seedlings.

In her own words: “We have to have an attitudinal change to move from the traditional way of doing things to the modern trend, in terms of production and maintenance techniques, which is the first aspect of the value chain. Also there is a gap in converting our raw materials into finished products because the fresh produces are in the hinterland while the consumers are in the urban centres, which is also a gap.

“So there is need for the industry to be where the raw materials are in abundances instead of us transporting it from very long distances from the villages and the production centres to the processing centres. In this regards, we need to bridge the gap from the traditional practices at every step to bring it to the present level so that we will be able to maximise the benefits of the horticultural crops.”

Speaking on how to bridge the gap the Dr. Babalola said “In NIHORT we know we have to bring all actors together, so along the line we identified that we have to put into consideration how to do the sucker and production practise to gain more. So we have resource persons covering that aspect so that we can have our people even producing the suckers on a daily basis as a sustainable business.” (Tribune)

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