The Acting Executive Director, National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT),Dr Abayomi Olaniyan, has said that mushroom production had the potential to generate foreign exchange for the country.
Olaniyan made this disclosure on Thursday at the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), Ilorin while inaugurating a three- day training workshop on mango and mushroom value chain.
The NIHORT chief was represented on the occasion by the institute’s Director of Research, Dr Stephen Afolayan.
“Mushroom enjoys both domestic and international acceptance as a food item, it is a veritable cash crop.
“Mango and mushroom are important horticultural commodities. Horticulture has been variously suggested to be one of the most viable and sustainable sources of household income,” Olaniyan said.
The executive director said both mango and mushroom production can generate employment; enhance Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and government revenue.
“It is worthy of note that Nigeria has a comparative advantage in the production of mangoes and mushrooms.
“Mango is among important tropical fruits and is greatly relished for its succulence, exotic flavour and delicious taste in most countries of the world as Nigeria ranks ninth in the world mango production.
“Mango has a high level of vitamin C, pectin and fibre that help to lower serum cholesterol levels.
“Fresh mango is a rich source of potassium, which is an important component of cell and body fluids that control heart rate and blood pressure
“Mushroom is particularly attractive to a broad spectrum of stakeholders because it can be produced indoors in large quantity within a short period of time at great profitability.
“Mushroom is one of the important food items; it plays a significant role in human health, nutrition and diseases and a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals,” Olaniyan added.
According to the executive director, some of mushrooms have medicinal benefits of certain polysaccharides, which are known to boost immune system.
“Mushroom cultivation can help reduce vulnerability to poverty and strengthens livelihood through the generation of a fast yielding and nutritious source of food and a reliable source of income,” he added.
The training, which was attended by 60 participants, was in collaboration with Hagues Logistics Limited.
At the end of the training, participants are expected to receive starter kits, gas cylinders and industrial burners as well as money to start their businesses.
Earlier, the coordinator of the programme, Dr Lawrence Taiwo, said that the institute had devised a means of converting plantain and pineapple wastes to wealth.
“We are going to Delta state to train about 400 people on plantain and pineapple production. We have developed a technology to use plantain waste for soap making.
“With that, we believe that a lot of people will be empowered in wealth and job creation.
“We want to train them to be job creators; so we are concentrating on waste to wealth in Delta. Later, we will be in Ebonyi too to train some youths on the production of scent-leaf and Ogbono”.