In an effort to generate employment, the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan, Oyo State, has provided empowerment training to about 3,580 individuals in Delta State, since the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The chairman, Governing Board of the institute, Major General Mohammed Garba (rtd), who stated this in Kwale , Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State, said the research centre had displayed the necessary capacities and skills on production, processing and marketing of fruits, vegetables and spices.
The chairman was speaking while declaring open the training and empowerment of 150 farmers in Ndokwa/ Ukwuani federal constituency of the state on tomato and plantain suckers production.
The training by NIHORT was in partnership with the Ndokwa/Ukwuani representative at the green chamber of the National Assembly, Dr Ossai Nicholas Ossai.
“Agriculture is a cardinal programme and has been identified as a critical multiplier sector that has a high potential for job creation needed to tackle the current unemployment crisis in the nation.
“Tomato and plantain are important economic and food security crops, they are essential for cooking and have been linked to many health benefits and solutions, including a reduction in risk related disease and cancer.
“Additionally, tomato and plantains are capable of impacting positively on our agricultural economic development, as well as our desire to achieve sustainable economic empowerment and growth in the commodity value chain of the crops that make this training very crucial to build the capacity of our citizens in particular our unemployed youths and women,” Garba stated.
NIHORT acting Executive Director, Dr. Ephraim Nwanguma, said Nigeria ranked the 14th largest producer of tomatoes in the world, second in Africa and accounted for 65 per cent of all the tomatoes that are produced in West Africa.
On plantain, he said: “The country ranked fifth in plantain production in the world and the production figure of 3,182,872 tones was obtained in 2019.”
According to him, the slow rate of sucker multiplication was one of the major constraints to plantain production.
The House of Representatives member, Ossai, in his remarks through Mr Azaka Ossai, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said the previous trainings had impacted hugely on farmers in the constituency in plantain, tomato, pepper, vegetable (ugu), mushroom, soap production, as well as fishery.
The beneficiaries, Mr. Idowu Enumah from Ndokwa West, Mr Dennis Ikwuni from Ukwuani and Mr Culture Osaneku from Ndokwa West, expressed happiness and promised that the knowledge acquired during the training would be used to better the society.
The 150 beneficiaries were drawn from across the three local government areas of Ukwuani, Ndokwa East and West that made up the federal constituency.