Plantain, Money Spinner For Those That Understand The Value Chain – NIHORT ED

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 The Executive Director, National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan, Oyo State, Dr. Abayomi Olaniyan, has said that plantain is a money-spinner for those that understand the value chain, that it is a high value crop, unique, an important food security crop and source of income for smallholder farmers. 

He stated this while speaking at a three-day training course to 50 young Nigerians at the institute in Ibadan, stating that disease-free plantain suckers are in short supply and the demand is on the high side, that the institute, prompting the Federal Government to emphasise the maximisation of such opportunities by training these young Nigerians. 

He explained to the participants that it is very simple to cultivate and maintain compared with other cash crops that require so much time and money to maintain, stressing that it is a low capital agribusiness, comparatively lucrative and adaptable to almost every Nigerian soil. 

Olaniyan said that there are job opportunities for youths and women in multiplication of plantain planting materials and cultivation of mushrooms. 

The NIHORT Executive Director stated that plantain produces fruits all year round, making the crop more available and affordable as staple food crop, and that productivity of the commodity is affected by inadequate planting materials due to the slow rate of sucker multiplication. 

“Dependence on natural regeneration of plants for the supply of planting materials has been observed to be limited and encourages infection while spreading nematodes and weevils. 

“To close the gap, the institute has developed rapid multiplication techniques which present job opportunities for the youth,” he said. 

Speaking further on mushroom, he said that mushroom is one of the most important food items and plays a significant role in human health, nutrition and is good source of protein, vitamins and minerals. 

He added that some mushrooms have medicinal benefits of certain polysaccharides, which are known to boost the immune system and that mushroom production can improve the socio-economic conditions of farmers and families. 

“It can be produced indoor in large quantity within a short period of time at great profitability. Mushroom cultivation can help reduce vulnerability to poverty and strengthen livelihood through the generation of a fast yielding and nutritious source of food and a reliable source of income. 

“Mushroom cultivation provides opportunities for improving the sustainability of small farming systems through the recycling of organic matter, which can be used as a growing substrate, and then returned to the land as fertiliser. 

Adding, “Successful cultivation and trade in mushrooms can strengthen livelihood assets. It is a veritable cash crop with potential promise to generate foreign exchange. 

Major-General Mohammed Garba (rtd), who is the chairman, NIHORT Governing Board, said plantain/banana and mushroom are important economic and food security crops capable of improving livelihood and employment generation. 

“I wish to request you to make good use of this golden opportunity and pay special attention to all sessions. I sincerely hope that knowledge acquired during the training shall be deployed to productive use for the country to be self-reliance in agricultural/horticultural value chain,” he advised the trainees. 

Dr Joel Akindeke Akinfasoye, Head, HORTIConsult, NIHORT, said “We are training these people on two major crops. Mushroom production and plantain/ banana production. Now, there are so many stages involved, especially when you talk of plantain production from rapid multiplication of suckers to cultivation. 

“I am very sure that whatever they learn today would go a long way to help Nigeria in food production,” he said. 

Read Original Report Here By Independent

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