A fresh indication has emerged that horticulture could create a million naira trade for Nigeria if properly harnessed.
Horticulture is a science as well as the art of production, utilization, and improvement of horticultural crops such as organic fruits and vegetables.
Horticultural plants require utmost care while planting, carrying the inter-cultural operations and processing the package of the food items that have been grown.
iBrandTV findings showed that the sector seems to be neglected, as there are limited activities occasioned by the Federal Government in the sector.
Some experts told iBrandTV in an interview that youths, the federal government, amongst others give blind look to the sector.
Contribution to GDP
In 2020, Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, amounted to N152,32 trillion, over 400 billion U.S.dollars. About 24 percent of GDP was generated by the agricultural sector.
The largest contribution was given by crop productions, which generated 21.8 percent of the country’s GDP in 2020. Agriculture contributes to a significant part of the country’s GDP.
It is a key activity for Nigeria’s economy after oil. Nevertheless, agricultural activities provide livelihood for many Nigerians, whereas the wealth generated by oil reaches a restricted share of people.
As a move to develop the sector, the federal government in 1975, established the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), with headquarters in Ibadan, under the supervisory roles of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).
NIHORT has the mandate to conduct research into genetic improvement, production, processing, storage, utilization and marketing of tropical fruits, vegetables, ornamentals, spices, other medicinal and aromatic plants of nutritional and economic importance.
Meanwhile, stakeholders in the sector urged Nigerians to explore the horticulture business as it could boost the nation’s economy.
They noted that, horticulture is not only for beautification, there are other benefits from the extraction of plants.
Mr Umaru Mustapha, a horticulturist told our correspondent that some of them who were into horticulture had realised the benefits in plants, which are not common, especially among people who are not knowledgeable in the business.
“Besides planting these trees as ornaments or for beautification, there are other benefits derived from them for medicinal purposes and economic development.
”Some plants can be useful for fabrics, as the sector can create million naira trade, which many people had neglected.
“I have worked with Al- bustan Integrated Global Garden for some years and I have realised that the business is lucrative.
” The major challenges confronting the sector are competition from other sellers, pest control and plant diseases, as well as high cost of water during the dry season.
“However, the best season for better sales is the rainy season, as flowers grow faster during this season, ” he said.
Mustapha, however, appealed to the Federal Capital Territory to create an enabling environment for them as most of them were operating on the roadside.
Mr Abdulameen Sariki, another horticulturist, said some plants could be useful for food production to some extent.
According to Sariki, we transport some flowers to different parts of Nigeria as people demand for beautification of houses, for fresh fruits and vegetables, for herbs and many more. ”
On the fund to start up the business, Sariki said a beginner could start it with N10, 000.
“You can start the business with at least N10,000 to N20,000, while undergoing six months to a year training, this is because flowers, plants and trees are different and have different species, ” he said.
In his contributions, Mr Sunday Philip, another horticulturist, noted that people, especially youths were undermining the potential in horticulture business.
Philip advised youths not to wait for the government for everything, adding that such businesses were capable of bringing income for them.
“As it is today in Nigeria, many plant species are no longer found around us.
” With the knowledge acquired from this business, we have been able to revive plants which were already going extinct.
”This, has helped me to meet people’s demand for these plants and it has made me travel to different places to find them, ” he said.