AT DIZENGOFF’S OPEN DAY, EXPERTS ADVOCATE GREENHOUSE FOR FOOD SUFFICIENCY
As the country continues to grow faster than the food produced, Greenhouse technology has again been identified as the fastest means of narrowing the food gap.
Unlike their counterparts in East African countries, where the greenhouse method has been fully embraced, Nigerian farmers are lagging behind in adoption of the modern farming system, which experts say guarantee all-year-round production and increased yield.
At the Dizengoff Farmers Field Day, held at the Greenhouse farm site of Best Foods Nigeria Ltd., Epe, with the aim of sensitising the public on Greenhouse innovations, the company’s Chief Executive Officer and Country Manager, Mr. Antti Ritvonen, said the technology is aimed at providing farmers with an all year round technique to produce and increase yield of crops, such as tomato, pepper, cucumber and sweet-melon.
“It is a technique, which provides steady income for the farmer, as well as the transfer of knowledge on how to improve the quality of their produce, reduce field losses and ensure higher profit for their investment.
“The farmers could get their investment back in 12 months because it could produce about 30 times more yield than on the same square meter in an open field farm setting and will not be at the mercy of rains or dry season because you can always keep growing your crops in your greenhouse.
Investing in greenhouse in Nigeria is profitable and a healthy business that farmers can get their investment back in 12 months or 18 months.”
Ritvonen explained that while the country’s demand for vegetables is put at over 2.3 million metric tonnes per year, it is only able to produce just about 1.8 million metric tonnes.
The greenhouse technology he submitted “is a potentially very viable option capable of narrowing this gap.”
He explained further that, Dizengoff Greenhouse is a complete package that comes with the hybrid seeds, fertiliser, chemicals, training and an agronomist that will help manage the greenhouses for the best yield.
Ritvonen while tasking financial institutions and governments at all levels to assist farmers in order to attain food sufficiency said there was need for youths to have an understanding of what modern farming is all about.
The Chairman of Best Foods, Emmanuel Ijewere lamented that Nigeria has only 4,000 units of greenhouse at the moment, of which about 50 per cent are not operating because they were bought and installed by government, compared to Kenya, which has over 172,000 greenhouses.