The Executive Director of the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan, Oyo State, Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, has charged Nigerians to embrace plantain farming, as demand for it is high, while the country is blessed with a climate favourable to the produce.
Dr Olaniyan gave this advise during a two-day Federal Government-sponsored training on Rapid Multiplication Techniques on Plantain Production for plantain and banana farmers in the country at the NIHORT headquarters, Idi-Ishin, Ibadan.
Speaking further, Dr Olaniyan revealed that the training would help boost the production of plantain and banana, while repositioning the country as one of the major exporters of the produce.
He said: “At the moment, Nigeria is the fifth largest plantain-producing country in the world, and such trainings would further take us higher on the global production ladder.
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“The major focus of the training is to reveal new methods of cultivating plantain and banana to farmers, and this will help boost their profits in the business.
“One thing about plantain is that it can be grown anywhere, and water is the only thing needed to make it grow well. As a result of this, farmers can boost their income, while Nigeria can earn more through exportation of the produce,” Dr Olaniyan said.
Earlier, the project coordinator of the training, Dr Olutola Oyedele, urged Nigerians to embrace agriculture as the government was now focusing more on the sector.
Dr Oyedele said such trainings had taken place across the country, like training on how to dry tomato seeds in Kano, Katsina and Nasarawa states, as well as training on how to plant pineapple in Delta, Imo and Abia states, among other trainings.
“For this training, we want to teach plantain and banana farmers on new planting techniques, which will help in boosting their profits.
“Farming is a business today, and no longer a hobby as it was in the past. When we get things right, then we will make more money in the business, and that is what this training is for,” Dr Oyedele said, while appreciating the Federal Government for sponsoring the training.
One of the participants, Mr Idowu Idris, said when he heard about the training, he came all the way from Osun State to participate.
Mr Idris said he planted plantain at the back of his compound and was surprised by what he got, “so I feel if I come for further training, I can turn it into a large-scale business,” he said.
Participants attended the training from all the six states in the South West geopolitical zone of the country.