NIHORT seeks U.S. collaboration on routine food testing, others
The National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan, Oyo State has expressed its readiness to collaborate with the United States of America on routine testing of food products before export and provision of adequate equipment for the task.
The Director/Chief Executive Officer of the institute, Dr. Lawal Attanda, who stated this during the visit of the United States Counselor for Agricultural Affairs for Nigeria, Benin and Cameroun, U.S Consulate, Lagos, Dr. Gerald Smith, said the institute has the human resources and some of the equipment, adding that it also needs partnership on “Supporting Opportunities In Livelihoods Development” in red onions, mushrooms and chill pepper value chains.
Dr. Attanda revealed that the institute has the national mandate to conduct research into the genetic improvement, production technologies, processing, storage, utilisation and marketing of tropical fruits, vegetables, spices and ornamental plants of nutritional and economic importance.
He disclosed that NIHORT is the only horticultural institute in Sub Saharan Africa saddled with the tasks, adding that a lot of responsibilities fall on the institute to develop technologies on horticultural produce and products for local and export markets, health, industrial raw materials and employment generation.
While listing the key achievements of the institute, Dr. Attanda said, “we developed six candidate varieties of tomato and five candidate varieties of garden egg undergoing multi locational trial at 13 on-farm locations prior varietal release.
“We developed 12 promising pepper breeding lines with four checks under evaluation for yield and yield contributing traits, as well as disease/pest response at our outstation – Mbato.”
He added that the institute has come up with Bio-pesticides – NIHORT- Lyptol and NIHORT- Raktin that can be developed to combat pests of horticultural crops and minise the use of chemical pesticides, which has a serious health effect on the populace.
“Value added products have been developed from vegetables, fruit juice drinks from citrus, mango, pineapple and tomato wine among others.
“NIHORT is ready to partner with the US on the training of our staff on biotechnology that may facilitate increase in availability of improved planting materials; assistance with the provision of state-of-the-art equipment such as AAS and GC; assistance with increasing the genetic diversity and conservation status of indigenous fruits and vegetables for increased healthy livelihood; and research collaboration with USDA and access to USAID grants through the institute’s grant management office.”