The biggest threat to Zero hunger and Food security in Nigeria is inadequate fertile land and inadequate viable seed free from pest and diseases. Aeroponics farming in Nigeria is one the modern farming techniques that have been able to solve this problem to certain extent.
This interview on Aeroponics farming will open our minds to few hidden things about Aeroponics farming in Nigeria. I have the honour to present to you Mr Onasanya Abiola Lawrence the Research Supervisor in Charge of Aeroponics System at IITA Ibadan. Read further as you get to know more about Aeroponics farming in Nigeria.
Agricincome: Can you introduce yourself and your farming background to our readers?
Onasanya Abiola Lawrence: My name is Onasanya Abiola Lawrence, I am delighted to be interviewed on Aeroponics System(soilless). I had my first degree from the University Of Ilorin, I first developed an interest in farming about 15years ago when I cultivated a plot of land with cucumber. I have been quite steadfast in cultivating crops like cucumber, Maize, Cassava and potatoes in the past few years until recently when I joined the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture.
Agricincome: what is your association with YIIFSWA?
Onasanya Abiola Lawrence: I had my NYSC program done in the YIIFSWA project at IITA, Ibadan, where I had the opportunity to be in the Aeroponics system where we plant Yam for seed multiplication. However, after my NYSC, Dr. Norbert Maroya, the Project Leader, YIIFSWA project, interviewed me and made preparations for my appointment as a Research Supervisor in charge of a section of the Aeroponics.
Agricincome: How would you explain Aeroponics to an average Nigerian?
Onasanya Abiola Lawrence: Aeroponics is the system or medium of growing crops in a soilless environment and literally in the Air. The roots are suspended in an enclosed box hereby the stem and other vegetative parts grow on top of the boxes, unlike the hydroponics system where the roots are totally immersed in Water all through their lifetime.
Agricincome: What are the prospects of the Aeroponics system?
Onasanya Abiola Lawrence: I look forward to a world where many of our leaders and wealthy organizations embrace and also adopts the Aeroponics system so as to solve the problem of unclean seeds, scarcity of seeds and unavailability of crops all through the year.
YIIFSWA already has some private seed companies who are fully into the Aeroponics system so as to end the problems facing our farmers in getting seeds for the next planting season.
Agricincome: Given all these prospects, why aren’t more people practicing Aeroponics Farming?
Onasanya Abiola Lawrence: It is basically because it requires quite a huge capital but it eventually pays off and has quite a lot of profit when fully established.
Agricincome: What types of crops can be planted in the Aeroponics system?
Onasanya Abiola Lawrence:
2. Irish potato
4. Carrots and so on.
Agricincome: What are the challenges of the Aeroponics system?
Onasanya Abiola Lawrence:
1. Capital Intensive
2. Heat Challenge
3. Technical know-how
Agricincome: What is the minimum start-up capital to set up an Aeroponics system?
Onasanya Abiola Lawrence: Actually, we cannot specifically fix an amount but a sum of four million naira would really go along way in establishing the Aeroponics System.
Agricincome: How can YIIFSWA help startups?
Onasanya Abiola Lawrence: YIIFSWA has 4 private seeds companies in Nigeria who we have really assisted financially, technically and practically. YIIFSWA has partners all over the West Africa countries and also engage in meeting farmers in different parts of this country and even in Ghana to give them seeds and also other supports to eradicate food insecurity and increase Income through Improvement of Yam.
Agricincome: Any advice for youths seeking careers in agriculture?
Onasanya Abiola Lawrence: Youths can start a small scale farming and with time, they will get to their destination. The youths should, however, do lots of research to know the opportunities’ embedded in Agriculture and even the location of their respective businesses.
Youths can engage in Aeroponics system if they have access to loan from banks or governments’ intervention.
If you give cutlass to a graduate to cultivate land, he would feel reluctant to do so, but if you give a remote that controls and performs the works on the farm to such person, he would collect it because it is high and novel technology. Government intervention would really go along way in promoting Aeroponics system farming in this country.
Agricincome: Thank you for your time.
Please share your thoughts and questions in the comment box below.
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