Cultivation of mushroom, ginger, turmeric can enhance nation’s economic development – expert
Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, the Acting Executive Director, National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan, has said that the cultivation of mushroom, ginger, and turmeric can enhance the nation`s economic development.
Abayomi stated this in Ibadan on Thursday at a two-day workshop organised by NIHORT on mushroom production, ginger and turmeric processing.
He noted that mushroom, ginger and turmeric cultivation belonged to the high value agriculture (agricultural goods0 with high economic value per kilogramme, hectare or calorie.
“The promotion of High Value Agriculture (HVA) will go a long way in the resolutions of all the contending issues of the economy,” he said.
The Acting Executive Director emphasised that mushroom production captured a broad spectrum of stakeholders because it could be produced indoors in large quantities within a short time at maximum profitability.
He added that it played a significant role in human health, nutrition, and control of diseases, as it was a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals.
Mushroom cultivation can help reduce vulnerability to poverty and strengthen livelihoods through the generation of a fast yielding and nutritional source of food and sustainable income.
“Its substrates are prepared from clean agricultural waste material, thus indirectly turning waste into wealth.
“It enjoys domestic and international acceptance as a food item, thereby exhibiting potential promise to generate foreign exchange.
“Considering enormity of post-harvest losses, poor market linkages, etc, value addition becomes a veritable alternative to attract sustainable levels of investment, and stakeholders’ interest to agriculture,” he said.
Olaniyan, who opined that ginger and turmeric had become more important at the domestic and international markets, advised Nigerians to exploit them to boost the economy.
According to him, ginger can be processed into a wide variety of products such as ginger powder, oil, oleoresins, while displaying wide range of applications.
“Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is associated with many healthy nutrients,” he said.
Olaniyan, therefore, stressed the need to add value to ginger, and turmeric to promote varieties of products, storability, wider usage and applications, enhanced returns to investment and export competitiveness.
Earlier, the Director of Research and Project Coordinator, NIHORT, Dr Lorince Olajide-Taiwo said that the utilisation of horticultural and agricultural wastes for income generation was one of NIHORT’s major ongoing project.
Olajide-Taiwo noted that if agricultural wastes were not properly handled, they could result into environmental pollution and unpalatable health issues.
He said one of the project’s objectives was to develop, disseminate appropriate technologies for wealth generation through the use of horticultural waste for sustainable mushroom production among Nigerian farmers.
“We shall follow up with participants who will be involved in putting the knowledge and skills acquired through the training to practice.
“With this, we can together contribute our quota to wealth and job creation aspirations of the Federal Government,” the project coordinator said.