As the country gradually recovers from the tomatoes Ebola that caused a scarcity of the product in the market, Nigerian farmers have been urged to embrace modern agriculture tools and techniques.
According to the national manager, Sales, Dizengoff Nigeria, Mr Kunle Dabiri, tomatoes would continue to be scarce in the country if production is left to the vagaries of pests and rain-fed system.
Speaking during a field demonstration exercise conducted for corporate and individual farmers on the usage of tractors, drip irrigation systems and greenhouses for fruits and vegetable production in Ibadan, he explained that mechanisation of crop production was the only sustainable way of increasing production, productivity, more profit, and a means of reducing poverty among farmers.
Greenhouse kits, he said, could be used to produce exotic tomatoes all-year round even in the bacteria wilt infested areas of South West Nigeria, adding that production and productivity could be enhanced with steady investments in modern tools, kits, techniques and improved varieties of seeds.
Demonstrating the use of mini drip irrigation kits to the participants, a supervisory agronomist, Mr Friday Ali, said that the kits were in different capacities and sizes, ranging from half a plot to one hectare of land.
The drip irrigation system, he added, could be used to produce annual crops, vegetables, and short-cycled crops in the dry season, ensuring more profit. He noted that tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon, maize, potatoes, groundnuts, different vegetables and a host of other crops could be planted between November and May with the use of mini drip irrigation kits.
He also emphasised the use of soluble fertiliser that could be used in boosting production.
The soluble fertiliser, he said, is applied through the drip irrigation system and it goes directly to the root of the plant in a method known as fertigation, thereby avoiding back-breaking application methods and high labour cost associated with the granulated type of fertiliser.