The National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan has developed a technology, Tuta Absoluta Trap Tray, to tackle the invasion of tomato farms by Tuta Absoluta pest.
Akeem Olaniyan, HIHORT’s acting executive director, said at the institute’s 2018 in-house review and planning meeting, that the technology for bio-pesticide extraction has effectively minimised pest attacks in five major tomato producing states which were heavily affected.
He noted that plantain or banana peel and stalk waste, which could result in environmental filth, were also being converted into various kinds of soap by NIHORT.
The institute, he said, has also trained youths, women and farmers in skills acquisition and empowerment schemes in horticultural crops and has equipped them with starter kits and funds to support their efforts to start horticulture-related businesses.
“The institute, among others, organised a capacity building workshop on plantain and tomato value chain for farmers in Oyo State; it also organised an empowerment training on mango and mushroom value chain in Ilorin,” he said.
NIHORT, however, faces challenges like encroachment by land speculators, exorbitant electricity bills and non-completion of new biotechnology laboratory for propagation of disease-free planting materials.
Mohammed Garba, the chairman NIHORT governing board and a retired major-general, stressed the need for research institutes to play key role in the government’s effort to diversify the economy through agriculture, urging NIHORT especially to be self-sustaining in order to facilitate food security.
“The current administration is ready to do its best to improve the agricultural sector to better the national economy; so, you should think of how to generate funds internally. You should come up with viable proposals; once you can justify the use, releasing funds to you won’t be a problem. So, it all depends on you,” he added.
Peter Jegede, the chairman, Quality Foods Manufacturing Enterprises, in his keynote address urged scientists to produce flowers that could make manufacturers attain self-sufficiency in honey production.
Jegede also underscored the need for Nigeria to harness its natural resources to facilitate national development. “For us Nigerians to grow more, we must drop the habit of mediocrity and be positive in all we do. Honestly, there is no crop grown in the world that Nigeria cannot grow,” he said.