No fewer than 50 citrus farmers including farmers, N-Power youth and ADP staff were trained on a two day budded citrus nursery techniques by researchers from National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) Ibadan, Oyo state capital.
Speaking during the training, the Project Coordinator, Dr. Olutola Oyedele, said the training became necessary in order to keep citrus farmers abreast of new improved technologies in citrus production.
Oyedele who was represented by the Head of Extension Research Program, Dr. Mrs. Funmilayo Olajide-Taiwo, said the institute noted that most of the citrus orchards around are not producing as expected because they are direct from seedlings trees.
She explained that the new budded technology is to provide improved citrus seedling to citrus farmers and also to improve the efficiency of citrus production, fruit quality and making fruit available all year while the tress are also diseases resistant
She said apart from increase in the yield of the new improve citrus budded trees and uniform fruiting, the budded citrus trees maturity is between 36 and 42 months.
Olajide- Taiwo said “we are here to train our farmers on budded citrus nursery techniques because we discovered that most of the citrus orchard that we have in the state are from seedlings trees and we also discovered that they are not producing well while we have this budded technology in our institute and we want to pass the technology across to the farmers in the state.
“If you’re producing from budded seedlings they produce faster that the ones that are gotten from seedling trees. They will start producing between three and three and half years and they are true to type with uniform fruiting”.
“We believe this will generate employment, and will also increase their income and at the same time they can train others and therefore reduce the level of unemployment in the state.
She noted that the climatic condition of the state favours production of citrus and said “We are also looking at the climatic condition in the state, because Ondo state has a comparative advantage in citrus production and we believe this training is going to improve the livelihood of farmers in the state
“They can also serve as out growers because the research institute is basically into research but we cant meet the request of all our stakeholders, so because of this, if we have people within this zone that want to purchase citrus seedlings we can refer them to the farmers that are trained within the tate.”
Also speaking, a Scientists with Citrus Research Programme, Dr. Bernard Okafor, said the budded trees yield is usually between 20 to 40 tonnes per hectare with good agronomy management.
He however called for a value addition of the citrus to avoid wastage and to make more money and said “the culture in Nigeria still goes without value addition, and we cannot make enough money and there will be a lot of wastage and spoilage, so beyond fruits consumption we have to go seriously into value addition”