The commitment of the Taraba State Government to bridging the gap in the production of tomatoes in Nigeria has remained strong and would soon be actualized in the production of tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage and the Mambilla pepper all year round.
With its Greenhouse Technological concept, the State Government has disclosed that it can constantly make these vegetables available in the market to consumers in Taraba, Adamawa, Bauchi and Benue States.
It would be recalled that the State Governor, Arch. Darius Dickson Ishaku made this disclosure recently in Jalingo while inspecting some newly acquired materials for the Greenhouse project. There are many vegetable fruits recognised in Nigeria, but, Tomato, as a vegetable fruit is a major food component; an ingredient utilised by every household and consumed fresh as well as in paste form. It also constitutes the national food security programme.
Records confirm that Nigeria produces approximately 1.8 million metric tonnes fresh fruits for domestic consumption, with National demand of about 2-3 million metric tonnes annually. This leaves a demand gap of about 500,000 metric tonnes.
Taking advantage of the Greenhouse Farming Technology which is essentially a controlled environment, limiting the devastating effects of insect pests and diseases that ravage vegetables including tomatoes, the State Government hopes to bridge this gap.
The Greenhouse farm is not rainfed but comes complete with a customised drip irrigation system. With a little amount of land space and water, one is sure to get a yield far higher than the traditional open field production.The Taraba State Government with foresight has also seen the huge employment opportunity the Greenhouse will create for its citizens both directly and indirectly and will not slack until this project is fully actualised.
It is also expected that the project which is cited between the State-owned University and College of Agriculture will train and encourage graduating students to tow this line for the multiplication of the project in the State.
Greenhouse farming can be more flexible than regular farming, especially when farmers have multiple separate buildings. For example, a farmer could set up a building that is perfect for growing a particular tropical species and then set up other buildings that grow plants that thrive in cooler climates. Each building can have perfect environmental controls to maximise the growing potential of each species.
It’s very common for Greenhouse farmers to use a technique called Hydroponics. This involves growing plants suspended in liquid. Sometimes this liquid is simply water, but usually, it is infused with very specialised nutrient mixes. This often allows plants to grow larger and more rapidly than they normally would, and it lets farmers maximise efficiency.
The main disadvantages of Greenhouse farming are generally related to cost. When farmers plant outdoors, they only require the money for seed, labour, and whatever additional costs are associated with equipment or land. Greenhouse farming introduces a whole new set of expenses related to buildings and maintenance of those buildings.