Expert makes case for improved plantain, pineapple production
Against the backdrop of their proven medical and industrial relevance, the Acting Executive Director, National Horticultural Research Institute, Ibadan (NIHORT), Oyo State, Dr. Abayomi Olaniyan has made a case for the massive growth of plantain and cassava by farmers.
Olaniyan who spoke in Kwale, Ndokwa West Council Area of Delta State, at a training workshop for farmers, remarked that as the fifth largest plantain producing country in the world, the production of the crop must be considered at the national and global agricultural policy levels.
The director told the farmers; drawn from the council and the two Ika councils of South and North East that plantain is a low capital agribusiness, very lucrative and can be cultivated in almost all-Nigerian soil.He said: “Plantain is very easy to cultivate and maintain unlike other cash crops that requires so much time and money to maintain. Plantain fruits all year round, which makes the crop a more reliable all season staple food production. Additionally, the demand for plantain is high because it is consumed by different people and is also used as raw materials.”
As the leading plantain producer in Africa and the seventh in the world, Olaniyan told the farmers that as an economic crop, it has encouraging potential for foreign exchange earnings.
The director noted that if current production and marketing trends are encouraged, commercial production for export and local consumption will be enhanced.While listing the various uses of pineapple, he advised that in order to avoid the pitfalls of the past, it is important to create awareness among stakeholders and deliberately cultivate a widespread attitude of employing improved production techniques and adding value to horticultural commodities.