NIHORT Empowers Farmers, Youth On Food Security, Waste Management For Wealth Creation

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The National Horticultural Research Institute, in fulfilling its drive to develop horticultural produce and products for local and export markets with attendant health, industrial raw materials and employment generation benefits, organised a two-day training workshop for more than 200 people in Ibadan, Oyo State, toward increased income and prosperity.

The training workshop, which covered theoretical and practical stages of mushroom, ginger, turmeric processing and marketing; and waste utilisation for crop production and mushroom farming, was, according to NIHORT’s Director of Research and Head of Research Outreach Department, Dr Lawrence Olajide Taiwo, organised in tandem with the institute’s goal to reduce hunger, ailments and poverty in Nigeria.

Themed “Horticulture for Health and Wealth Creation,” the three day workshop kicked off on off on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 with introduction to the production of mushroom using horticultural/agricultural wastes.

The event recorded a series of activities as the participants were taken through the management of solid wastes, the importance of mushrooms and the technology of mushroom production using horticultural waste.

More than 300 participants were taught on how to use waste for crop and mushroom production, as well as business opportunities waste management and tumeric processing, among others.

Olajide-Taiwo, speaking on solid wastes management explained the environmental and economic importance of horticultural wastes.

Olufunmilayo Idowu, a research scientist and a plant physiologist, took the participants through the importance of mushrooms and the technology of mushroom production using horticultural wastes like the banana leaves, the palm fond, cereals and so on.

“There are a lot benefits which can generated from the production of mushroom from all these horticultural wastes apart from the economic benefits. It is also effective in the area of health as mushroom consumption can be an antidote to cancer,” she said.

Meanwhile, the acting Executive Director, NIHORT, Dr Akeem Olaniyan, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the workshop, said the cultivation of mushroom, ginger, and turmeric can enhance the nation’s economic development.

According to him, these items can improve the nation’s GDP, especially since Nigeria is the third largest producer of tumeric in the world, a product that is highly sought at the international markets.

He charged the participants to make use of what they had learned towards income generation and prosperity.

In a remark during the opening ceremony, the Regional Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Southwest zone, Adedoyin Awe challenged agricultural research institutes in the zone to develop agricultural products that could enhance the health of Nigerians.

Participants who lauded the programme thanked NIHORT for organising the workshop. “This is a very interesting and beneficiary programme for everybody who is interested in empowering themselves personal and something unique in life and makes it more liberal. Mushroom production is a unique production that you need to learn. And when you know it, you will be able to produce on your own with a little much plan and a little capital,” Henry Segun Degbenle, a participant, said.

In another development, in an effort to increase awareness on food and nutrition security, organised a sensitisation campaign on home gardening for food and nutrition security for the residents of Odo-Ona, Ibadan, recently.

The campaign, organised under the project on utilisation of horticultural waste for income generation and environmental sustainability, according to the Project Coordinator, as well as Director of Research and Head of Research Outreach Department, Dr Lawrence Olajide-Taiwo, utilisation of horticultural wastes for income generation and environmental sustainability was necessary because “one of the major problems associated with production, harvesting and post-harvest operations is the generation of large volumes of wastes. This gives rise to huge dumping sites and deep percolation, thereby, polluting underground water.”

One of the ways these wastes can be utilised, he said, “is forraising of crops especially fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, spices and ornamental crops; and animals within the homestead.”

The campaign, which dwelled on waste management/soil improvement in home garden, water management and health in home garden, benefits of home garden and importance of fruits and vegetables consumption, was witnessed by more than 100 people in the community.

Alhaji Lamidi Popoola, chairman of the Community Development Council, speaking, thanked the project coordinator, as well as other members of the NIHORT management for bringing the programme to the community.