A two-day training for youths and women on vegetable cultivation and value addition have been organised in Abeokuta.
The training program was organised by Ogun State Agricultural Development Programme (OGADEP) in collaboration with the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan.
Dr. Adeola Odedina, Commissioner for Agriculture while declaring the training open noted that the training was apt and in line with agricultural agenda of the present administration in the state, which seeks to create jobs for unemployed youths and engender more participation in agricultural activities, towards ensuring food security.
Dr. Odedina ably represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Dotun Sorunke stated that the importance of training farmers could not be overemphasised, as it serves to boost agricultural production and reduce wastage of produce, which would ensure sustainable agricultural development and improve individual income.
“This training will avail these young farmers the theoretical aspects of primary production, value addition services, as well as hands on practical, which they would in turn cascade to other farmers who could not benefit from the training directly,” Odedina said.
Welcoming participants to the training, the Executive Director, NIHORT, Dr. Abayomi Olaniyan, represented by the Director of Research in the Institute, Dr. Olagorite Adetula enumerated the values that would be added to the teeming farmers in terms of production, processing, storage, utilisation, economics of production, alongside marketing and record keeping.
Olaniyan disclosed that Nigeria produces 2.3 million metric tonnes of vegetables per year with a 700,000 deficit in demand for the product, hence the need for such workshop, which would increase the quantity of vegetables produced to meet local and export demands, processing the excesses in other value-chain produce, as well as create jobs and wealth for the people and nation at large.
In his goodwill message, the Chairman, NIHORT Governing Board, Major General Mohammed Garba (Rtd), said the training was critical owing to the economic and nutritional values of tomato, okro and pumpkin, popularly called ugwu.
He added that the three vegetable commodities chosen for the training were capable of achieving economic empowerment and growth in vegetable value-chains.
He urged participants to deploy the knowledge imparted on them to productive use, in order to achieve food security, self-reliance in agriculture, as well as exploiting the opportunities inherent in the horticulture value-chain.
Speaking on behalf of the participants who were selected across the 20 Local Government Areas, Mr. Adeniyi Kola-Joshua, appreciated the organisers of the training, saying they have learnt a lot about the value adding opportunities in the three commodities and would ensure that same is passed on to others in their various communities.