The Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre (AMREC) of the University has empowered farmers in the Remo and Ijebu areas of Ogun State with improved Kolanut seedlings, which have potentials for higher yields. Making the presentation during the Capacity Building Training on Production and Processing of Kolanut, the Director of AMREC, Professor Victor Olowe, said the gesture was in line with the extension mandate of the University, aimed at boosting the agricultural enterprise of farmers by empowering them through the replacement of their aged and unproductive Kolanut trees with improved varieties, for higher yields.
According to him, over the years, farmers had not demonstrated commensurate capacity to match the increasing demand for Kolanut at both local and inter-regional levels due to low productivity, hence, the need for the training to ensure that farmers benefitted from the economic potentials of Kolanut, reputed to be the third most valued world stimulant, out of which Nigeria accounted for 70 percent of its global production. The Director assured farmers of AMREC’s commitment by intensifying efforts at keeping them abreast of innovations and improved technology in Kolanut cultivation.
The State Director, Tree Crops and Rural Development Services, Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Gbenga Oyesola, who was represented by Mr. Adegboyega Odulate, stressed the importance of Kolanut among cash crops and disclosed that the state government was ready to partner with relevant agencies, educational institutions and research centres in regulating and enhancing Kolanut value-chain, from production to utilization stage with a view to reviving the crop’s lost glory and getting maximum benefit. He stated further that the state government had almost concluded plans to establish a Kolanut plantation that would be allocated to groups and individual farmers.
Participants were educated on the various credit schemes they could accessed from the Central Bank of Nigeria and were also advised to form themselves into co-operative groups, to get available benefits and support from commercial institutions and government. Two prominent Kolanut varieties: Cola nitida and Cola accumunata, were showcased while Messrs. Solomon Adebiyi and Francis Mokwunye, both of the Cocoa Research Institute (CRIN), Ibadan, Oyo State, updated participants’ knowledge on the potentials and cultural practices associated with Kolanut for improved yield, processing and preservation.