Friday, May 4, 2018 6:22 pm
The Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) has begun the process of extending the cultivation of the new variant of tomatoes it developed to the larger society. FUTA through its School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology (SAAT) recently organized a Practical Field Training for selected farmers and agroprenurs on Greenhouse production of the Eva F1 tomatoes and other vegetables at the Teaching and Research Farm of the Institution. The Eva F1 Tomato is a variety five times bigger in size than the commonly available one in the Nigerian market and it is capable of producing paste more than four times the latter. The Eva F1 tomato has the rare quality of remaining fresh over a period of two weeks from date of harvest.
Highlighting practical steps for production of new variant of tomatoes in the Green house, Chief Agricultural Superintendent of the Farm, Mr. Mike Fadimiroye said the Green house ensures large production using a small area thus enhancing management of limited resources. He said the advantages of the Greenhouse include control of insect pests from accessing the crop, which is a part of integrated pest management strategy. Fadimiroye said the Greenhouse should be kept clean while sharp and hot objects should be kept off the green House adding that the door must be shut always. He stressed the importance of soil analysis as the results will help the farmer to make decision on the best system of farming to adopt. Fadimiroye said the indeterminate variety of tomato such as EVA-F1 and Larisa will mature about two months in a green house after transplanting making it 90 days from nursery to maturity and harvesting could continue for another 3 months. He said depending on good management there is a guarantee of 1-2 tons of tomato from one production. He said these varieties of tomatoes also have the advantage of long shelf life if properly handled before storage.
In his remarks, the Dean of the School, Professor Timothy Amos said the major goal of the School is to make significant contribution towards attaining food security in Nigeria. He said the Tomato Project is aimed at enabling farmers and citizens practice organic tomato farming and to guarantee the consumption of healthy, wholesome vegetables. FUTA farm Manager Mr. Olajide Adedayo said the Eva F1 seedling was sourced from Israel and carefully developed in FUTA’s Green House under controlled temperature. Adedayo described the training of farmers to cultivate the new variety as the actualization of the mandate of the University to put science to work for the society.
On his part the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (Development), Professor Philip Oguntunde described the Project as a right step in the right direction. He said the University must impact the lives of the community through appropriate transfer of knowledge. Fuwape said Agriculture must take its place as the mainstay of the economy especially when petroleum resources are fast dwindling. He urged the farmers to use the knowledge gained to benefit their lives and the society at large. He appealed to interested governments, investors and institutions to partner with the University in its bid to stimulate large scale farming of the new variety of tomatoes and enhance its contributions to the economy, employment generation and spin off industries.