Mushroom cultivation can boost farmers’ income, the Acting Executive Director National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan, Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, has said.
He spoke during a three- day training dubbed Skill Acquisition and Capacity Building for Value Chain on Mango and Mushroom, jointly organised by NIHORT and Hague Logistics Limited in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Represented by the Institute’s Head of Research, Dr Stephen Afolayan, Olaniyan said: “it is worthy of note that Nigeria has comparative advantage in the production of mangoes and mushrooms.
“Mango is among the important tropical fruits and is greatly relished for its succulence, exotic flavour and delicious taste in most countries of the world. Nigeria ranks ninth in world mango production. He added that mushroom enjoys both domestic and international acceptance as a food item, saying that “it is a veritable cash crop with potential to generate foreign exchange.”
“Mushroom is particularly attractive to a broad spectrum of stakeholders because it can be produced indoors in large quantity within a short period of time at great profitability. Mushroom cultivation provides opportunities for improving the sustainability of small farming systems through recycling of organic matter, which can be used as a growing substrate and the returned to the land as fertiliser.”
To this end, he said the Federal Government has commenced the training of over 60 persons on mango and mushroom production.
Olaniyan described horticulture as one of the most viable and sustainable sources ofhousehold income, employment generation, enhanced gross domesticproduct and government revenue.
Earlier, the Coordinator of the programme and Director of Research, NIHORT, Dr Lawrence Taiwo said that the institute has devised a means of converting plantain and pineapple wastes to wealth.
Said he: “We are targeting more than 500 participants this year for mangoes and mushrooms training. We just finished training about 35in Ibadan, Oyo state. We are going to Delta state to train about 400people on plantains and pineapples production. We have developed a technology to use plantains waste for soap making. “With that we believe that a lot of people will be empowered in wealth and job creation. We want to train them to be job creators. So we are concentrating on waste to wealth in Delta state. In the next fourweeks, we will hit Ebonyi State to train some youths on scent-leaf and Ogbona.
On the current training programme in Kwara state, he said: “We are going to empower the participants with kits that they can start up business with.
We are talking about wealth creation here and we know that if you want to create wealth there are some things you have to start with.