Dons tout greenhouses as solution to food challenges


By Bala Dauda, Damaturu

A team of researchers at the Federal University, Gashua, Yobe state said investment in greenhouse farming will address food insecurity in the country.

The researchers, who are senior lecturers at the institution, stated this at a five-day training programme for 30 farmers on “the role of greenhouse and drip irrigation farming on sustainable livelihood of rural families in the Northeast.”

Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Ibrahim Jajere, the Team Lead, noted that green house farming, which depends on irrigation, would enhance vegetable production in the Yobe Basin.

Jajere, who is also the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic, of the institution, said the training would expose farmers to the relevance of drip irrigation to improving water productivity and sustainable land management.

The don noted that green house farming has an edge over open field farming as it gives a farmer control over the environment where his crops grow and thereby enhances productivity.

He said it would also increase the income of farmers, improve their livelihoods in the region, which had suffered decades-old insurgency.

In his remarks, Dr Ishaku Dantata, an agronomist, also said greenhouse and vertical farming save 80 percent of water used in other forms of irrigation.

He explained that drip irrigation is a low-pressure watering system which effectively delivers water and nutrients directly to the roots of plants, thereby minimising run-off and evaporation losses.

In a paper titled : the role of greenhouse and drip irrigation farming on sustainable livelihood of rural families, Dantata said greenhouse extends growing season and protects plants from pests and harsh climatic conditions.

Also, Dr. Ibrahim Alhassan, a soil scientist, said using drip irrigation system, 10,000 -14,000 tomato seedlings could be cultivated on an acre of land as against 4,000 seedlings through rain fed cultivation.

In his paper titled : “ greenhouse farming in Yobe Basin – A case study” , Alhassan said within eight weeks, the team harvested 600kg of tomatoes in a greenhouse.

He said after every 4 to 5 days, an average of 60-70 kg of fresh tomatoes were harvested.

The expert said greenhouse farming if practiced well, would result in higher percentage of crop survival than in open space vegetable farming.

A beneficiary of the training, Mallam Adamu Liman, thanked the resource persons for introducing them to modern farming techniques.

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