Don urges government to encourage cultivation of vegetables for export

An agriculturist, Ikechi Agbugba, on Friday, in Lagos, urged the federal and state governments to encourage cultivation of vegetables for export.
Agbugba told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that vegetables, such as pumpkin (Ugu leaves), bitter-leaf, water-leaf, okro, ewedu, fio-fio and others that were generally overlooked could earn the nation foreign exchange.
“In spite of government’s neglect, informal exports of these vegetables to Europe and other countries are going on daily.
“And key players in these vegetable farming and marketing are mostly women, who cultivate them in small and medium scales.
“Vegetable consumption provides nutritional security for the body.
Agbugba, who lectures at Rivers State University of Technology, said many sicknesses occurred due to inadequate consumption of vegetables.
“Okro, for instance, is a blood volume cleanser and can be preserved for days under chilled environment.
“It is these storage and preservation facilities, better transportation of the vegetables and improved variety of seedlings, that require government’s involvement and attention,” he said.
Agbugba said that farmers required minimal capital to cultivate most of these vegetables, adding that the demand for vegetables increased during the dry season.
According to him, there was a need to ensure the processing of these vegetables in a more environmentally-friendly manner.
”Now, the way vegetables are handled in the open markets required lots of enlightenment,” he said.
The lecturer said that governments needed to support vegetable farming and marketing to make it flourish and earn the desired foreign exchange.

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