FG trains 50 farmers on agroforestry model in Edo

THE Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) on Monday trained 50 Coconut farmers and processors on agroforestry system-based plantation model, to improve the livelihoods of the farmers in Edo.

The capacity building was organised under the Coconut value chain of the ministry, in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) in Benin.

Declaring the training opened, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, said the exercise was part of efforts of the Federal Government to attain food security and self-sufficiency in Nigeria.

Represented by Chukwuemeka Ukattah, a Director in the ministry, Abubakar said President Buhari was determined to turn around the nation’s economy through agriculture by its unwavering support for farmers and empowerment of women and youths.

He said it was an effort to attain food security, self-sufficiency as well as improve the livelihood of Coconut farmers and processors.

“The government, through the Coconut value chain, decided to provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to establish and maintain a successful Coconut plantation.

” We will cover topics such as nursery establishment, field development, harvesting and processing to meet local and international markets standard and demand.

“With the right training, coconut value chain has the potentials to contribute significantly to the nation’s GDP and generate employment,” Abubakar said.

The Executive Director of NIFOR, Dr Celestine Ikuenobe, who welcomed participants to the workshop, said Nigeria’s coconut production was far below the demand.

“I am sure that if the National Coconut Producers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN) work with this agroforestry based plantation model, the value chain will be on a scale to contribute significantly to our economy.

“We suddenly got a huge demand for coconut seedlings in the last three to four years and we were caught napping because we did not prepare for the fact that there was going to be an upsurge in the demand for coconut seedlings,” he said.

Ikuenobe explained that NIFOR was strengthening it’s capacity to meet the sudden upsurge in the demand for the seedlings.

“We are working to invigorate our coconut gardens in addition to other identified seed trees,” he added.

According to him, in the last two years, “we have replanted our coconut germplasm and in the next five years, there will be enough to provide nuts and materials for the industry”. (NAN)

E.C