The Chairman, National Banana and Plantain Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria in Abia State, Engr. Dr. Okezie Abarikwu, has said banana and plantain, if planted in commercial quantity and exported, would revive the economy.
Abarikwu spoke in Umuahia, the Abia State capital. He said that if given the necessary attention, banana and plantain business can serve as a veritable measure for diversification of the nation’s economy.
He said, “if you go to Western Indies, they don’t have anything except banana and plantain, followed by tourism. That is what is sustaining their economy. Banana and plantain contain up to 26 product which when properly harnessed can be use to alleviate the nation’s economy.
“Take for instance, a bunch of plantain is sold up to N1500. Assuming you borrowed money to start the business, in a minimum of nine months, it will start yielding. Within that same year, you will be able to repay your loan, have enough money for next year’s farming”.
He said that the association would help to promote the growing and marketing of the product nationwide, adding that a new era has opened for farmers who cultivate the crop as the seasons of waste is over.
He added that the cooperation between farmers and traders would ensure that issues affecting the cultivation and marketing of banana and plantain received adequate attention.
He lamented that, inadequate land and ignorance was robbing the farmers in the state of the benefits derived from banana and plantain business, unlike what was obtainable in other states.
Earlier the State Public Relations Officer of NBPAN, Hon. Grant Obinwa Nwogu said the association would generate funds from its members to acquire over one hundred acres of land, where they would plant solely for commercial purposes.
He said, “by the time we begin to produce the varieties of banana and plantain related products in a large quantity, people will come to buy and we can export it to other parts of the country and beyond. We have the manpower, the calibre of people and professionals in the field. Our association has the capacity to achieve it”.
He pointed out that the Abia State Government has promised to give the association a land, adding that it will enable members have a stake in the banana and plantain business.