Taiwo Oluwadare, Ibadan
The National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan Oyo State, has trained youths and women in Nigeria on plantain and mushrooms value-chain to reduce unemployment. Tagged: “Capacity building on horticultural practices for youths and women”, the exercise was organised to train participants on how to maximize the opportunities in plantain, banana and mushrooms productions as veritable means to reduce high level of unemployment in the country.
Chairman, NIHORT Governing Board, Major General Mohammed Garba (rtd), emphasised the importance of plantain, banana and mushrooms as food and economic security crops capable of improving livelihood and employment generation: “They are important raw materials in the field of agro industries. Capacity building is necessary to equip both citizens and stakeholders with skills and competencies necessary in horticultural value chains to ensure sustainable agricultural development, improved income and economic empowerment.
“It is remarkable to note that under the present administration of President Mohammadu Buhari, agriculture has been identified as a critical sector that has potential for massive job creation needed to tackle current unemployment in the nation.
“NIHORT is not only the centre of excellence in horticultural crop research but also has the necessary capacities and skills on production, processing and marketing of fruits, vegetables and spices. I wish to urge and encourage you to make good use of the golden opportunity by paying special attention to all the training sessions.”
Executive Director of the institute, Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, said the training workshop on plantain nursery practices and rapid multiplication techniques in plantain/banana would cover interesting items such as production techniques in the nurseries, pest and disease management, economics, record keeping and marketing of plantain suckers. Practical demonstration on mushrooms production forms part of the training.
He said: “Plantain is a high value crop, unique, an important food security crop and source of income for smallholder farmers. The crop is a money-spinner for those that understand the value chain. Mushroom is one of the important food items and plays a significant role in human health, nutrition and is good source of protein, vitamins and minerals.
“Some mushrooms have medical benefits of certain polysaccharides, which are known to boost the immune system. Mushroom production can improve the socio-economic conditions of farmers and families.” He implored participants to pay attention to all sessions to make the best use of the opportunity.