An Agriculture expert, Mr Chuba Chukwuka, has called for the adoption of greenhouse farming to foster food security and enhance farmers’ productivity.
Chukwuka, a greenhouse farmer, made the call in an interview with newsmen in Lagos on Tuesday.
The expert noted that greenhouse farming ensured improved productivity of local farmers as well as making them versatile in various systems of cultivating crops.
“One thing the greenhouse farm avails the farmer of is that, it improves his productivity; ensures the farmer can produce all year round; the weather notwithstanding.
“The greenhouse farmer can produce all year round because he does not depend on weather conditions or rainfall.
“The weather conditions and rainfall are two main reasons the conventional farmer does not produce all year round.
“Greenhouse farming makes the farmer versatile, it does not matter whether the soil on the farm is good or not, you can still import soil from other lands and plant.
“You can control everything within the greenhouse, so that will go a long way to ensure food security. So if government will subsidise the cost of installations, it will really help,” Chukwuka said.
He also canvassed for the support of the Federal Government to help local farmers set up greenhouse farms by subsidising the cost of set up materials.
“The basic challenge we face in greenhouse farming is actually the cost of setting it up. There is a high cost in installing a greenhouse farm in Nigeria.
“Most of the materials used in setting up greenhouse farms are all imported. So if the government will also reduce import duties on these items, it will also make it easier for farmers to set it up.
“Greenhouse farms are made up of three parts – the structure, the legs and then the roofs. The roofs are called Ultra Violet Covers; they control sunrays that access the farm,’’ he said.
According to him, if companies that produce locally can also be helped and materials subsidised, it will help more farmers afford greenhouse farms.
“The structure can be fabricated locally if you use rods or well -treated wood. All the legs are foreign-sourced and then the covers are not produced in Nigeria at all.
“If we have a way of producing all the elements locally, I am sure the cost of the greenhouse will be low and if it is low, a lot of farmers will able to afford it,” Chukwuka said.