No fewer than 60 unemployed youths and women are participating in a three day training workshop on ginger and mushroom value addition in Abuja.
The workshop is organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT).
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop, Chairman, NIHORT Governing Board, Retired Maj. Gen. Garba Mohammed, said many Nigerians had enjoyed dividends of democracy through several capacity building programmes implemented by the Federal Government.
Mohammed noted that the ongoing training was one of many capacity building programmes being implemented by the current administration for employment generation and economic empowerment of Nigerians.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his determination in ensuring that the unemployed in the country were engaged, particularly through agriculture.
“Capacity building is one of the avenues that are being used to tackle the issues of unemployment, food insecurity and poverty, plaguing our dear nation.
“It is important to note that the electoral victory of President Muhammadu Buhari for another four years has given us hope of continuing to move to the next level for the salvation of our country.”
He called on the participants to pay attention to all that would be taught during the workshop to apply the knowledge gained into productive use.
The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of NIHORT, Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, said Nigeria’s ginger varieties were acclaimed to be of superior quality and outstanding flavour and preferred in the international market.
He said that Nigeria was the third largest exporter of ginger in the world after China and India.
According to him, ginger is a cash crop that serves as important source of raw material for several products like ginger drink and it is one of the most rewarding crops grown in all parts of the country.
“Ginger can be processed into wide variety of products such as ginger powder, oil oleoresin and other products.
“There are lots of opportunities in the ginger value chain from planting to processing, exporting, logistics, extraction and a whole lot of activities.
“The market for ginger, especially the overseas market like in Asia and Europe is large and it is expanding and sustainable because of its numerous uses.
“Ginger based products have a wide range of applications in many industries like food processing, pharmaceutical, soft drinks, meat canning, confectionery, tobacco processing, soap making and so on,” he said.
On mushroom, Olaniyan said it was one of the important food items that played significant role in human health and nutrition.
He stressed that it was one of the best options in conversion of agro wastes into quality protein.
Another participant, Emmanuel Didia said he was hopeful that the knowledge acquired from the workshop would give him a source of livelihood.
“After the training, I would like to start up my own business not just to empower myself but others as well,” Didia.