Plateau potato farmers trained on blight prevention.

By Marie-Therese Nanlong.

Jos - Over 500 commercial and subsistence potatoes farmers from seven potatoes producing local government areas in Plateau state have been trained on modern steps to be taken in cultivating, harvesting and selling of the crop for better profits, food security and improved revenue base.

The one day training workshop for the potatoes farmers from Bassa, Jos East, Jos South, Riyom, Barkin Ladi, Bokkos and Mangu was organized yesterday by a Plateau State-based mechanized potatoes farming company, Vicampro and tagged: "How to prevent potato blight."

Addressing the participants at the event in Jos, the Chief Executive Officer of Vicampro, Mr. Michael Agbogo said the workshop was necessary as farmers have suffered much losses in the past four years as the result of blight in their farms.

He added that in order to prevent blight, ensure better yield, improve quality and increase the availability of potato in commercial quantity for the Nigerian markets and beyond, there was need for both commercial and subsistence potatoes farmers to be exposed to new approaches and techniques in the cultivation of the crop.

The farmers were however taken through other sub-topics like "how to fight blight, contact versus systematic fungicides, irrigation farming and financial impact of bight on the economy", exposed to ways of getting helps in case of any outbreak in their farms even as a documentary on potentials of potatoes was also shown to them.

Speaking on the reason for the workshop, the CEO stressed, "Plateau state has these local government areas producing potato in commercial quantity, already, we see a large portion of the world suffering from starvation. Vicampro is part of the solution to provide food security for Nigeria and the world.

"We believe these farmers can take the lead in food supply and ensure food security if they play their part well by knowing how to reposition and adopt modern methods in cultivating and harvesting the crop."

Meanwhile, a participant, Mrs. Hannah Dung expressed joy at having the opportunity to attend the workshop saying, "potato is a perishable crop, once we invest our money and then have blight in your farm, it could be frustrating but the workshop is timely because it has exposed us to new techniques in managing the crop and even how to get good market for your produce.

"This is also an avenue for us the farmers to network and learn new things from your colleagues in other local government areas. We also have a way of getting improved variety which will improve our output, the initiative is highly commendable."

There was a goodwill message from the State Ministry for Agriculture and the farmers were encouraged to put into practice the knowledge gained at the workshop.


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