The National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) on Tuesday in Benin, inaugurated the plantain and banana innovation platform in a bid to improve productivity in the value chain in Edo State.
The Executive Director of the Institute, Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, said the platform was designed for farmers to learn new innovations in the production of plantain and banana
Represented by Dr Ifeoluwapo Amao, the Project Coordinator, Olaniyan said that Edo was one of the highest producers of plantain and banana in the country, hence the establishment of the platform.
“The Institute as part of keying into the Economic Recovery Growth Plan of the Federal Government has 10 institutional projects covering different commodity crops to address various challenges of national concern.
“One of such is Project 7 which bothers on selected horticultural innovation platforms.
“Innovation platforms are spaces for learning and changes which is participatory in nature.
“The plantain and banana as crops of national importance have huge health and economic potentials.
“It is the third most important staple and raw material for industries.
“It is used for the production of various value-added products such as baby food, bread, biscuits, and so on.
“Its peels are used as feed for livestock, dried peels and stalk used for soap production, dried leaves, sheath and petiole used as roofing and tying materials.
“While the leaves are used as food packaging materials,” he said.
Also speaking, the Assistant Project Coordinator, Dr Oluyemisi Adewale, said that plantain and banana were of paramount importance in southern parts of the country.
“It has been identified as a potential for foreign exchange earner,” Adewale added.
According to him, the innovation platform had been recognised as a way of improving agricultural and horticultural development among farmers, processors and input suppliers, among others.
In his remarks, Mr Friday Oduware, a farmer thanked the institute for the inauguration of the platform, adding that it would create more opportunities for farmers in the state.
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