OVER 5,000 indigenes of Ndokwa /Ukwani federal constituency of Delta state have been trained and empowered on tomato preservation, telfairia ( pumpkin leaves), plantain, mushroom, fish and pineapple production as well as soap making .
The gesture came from the member representing the constituency at the lower chamber of the National Assembly, Honourable Ossai N. Ossai who for the past five years have not left no stone unturned in ensuring that all categories of persons from the three local government in the constituency benefit from various commodity value chains training programmes.
All the beneficiaries received starter packs at the end of the training.
Speaking at another training and empowerment programme of beneficiaries from the constituency on tomato cultivation and telefairia (Ugwu) production held at Kwale, Delta State, weekend,, Representative Ossai said as an agriculturist , it was apt to create jobs that can sustain some of the constituents through training and empowerment programmes.
Ossai who was represented by his administrative secretary, Mr Azaka Ossai, noted with satisfaction the establishment of past participants who now train others in various commodities adding that “ most car washers and beauty salons in Ndokwa land today make use of soaps made by our trainees.
“We are grateful to God that our efforts are not in vain as our trainees have established widely In plantain, pineapple, tomato and ugu leaves among others in our area. The multiplier effects for now Is huge.
“We can only encourage others to join the training programs so that in no distanct time, Ndokwa land will be exporter of tomato for example.”
He commended the trainers from the National Hortcultural Research Institute (NIHORT)Ibadan for their resilience and indept knowledge of the various commodities.
Earlier, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the institute, Dr. Abayomi A. Olaniyan has disclosed that Nigeria still remained the 14th largest producer of tomato in the world and the 13th largest importer of tomato paste in the world while the national demand of the produce stands at 3m metric tonnes annually.
According to the executive director who was represented by Dr. Ephraim Nwanguma, a director in the institute, inadequate logistics for storage and processing of the produce have contributed to high post harvest losses experienced in the commodity value chain which he said, made tomato to be very expensive during some months of the year.
To alleviate the menace, the NIHORT boss said there was the need to process tomato in order to reduce seasonal glut and inconsistent year round supply adding that processing the produce would go a long way in reducing the quantities of tomotoes imported into the country most especially during the lean seasonal supply and improve potentials in the county.