USAID, Melwing trains Over 180 smallholder plantain farmers on plantain suckers’ multiplication in Bayelsa and Rivers States
United States Agency for international development. USAID in partnership with Melwing Agric has trained over 180 smallholder plantain farmers on how to multiply plantain suckers, disease prevention, and control in order to improve farming techniques and increase productivity.
The CEO of Melwing Agric, Dudutari Meli says “We are increasing the capacity of the farmers to make more plantains available for our expanded processing activities made possible through the support of USAID. Mewling a Bayelsa based company, makes special nutrient supplying packaged food products from unripe plantain while providing Agritech solutions along the value chain”.
“We are focused on developing packaged food products whose production process would not be adversely affected by global supply chain disruptions hence the need to enable the farmers for improved productivity through training and capacity building strategies like this”.
Meli thanked the USAID and the American People for making this possible while urging the participants to focus on applying the knowledge gained by working with the Community Liaison Officers appointed by the company to make plantains available at the collection points at the agreed dates as the company is ready to pay fair market price to uptake all their produce as a reliable partner.
The Paramount Ruler of Oruama Community, Ahoada, Rivers State, HRH Peter B. Uke says “This is the first time a training like this is coming to their community and reaching the rural farmers whose farming activities have been affected adversely by covid-19 and Climate change leading to huge losses in recent times”.
“We have been farming the way our forefathers taught us and it has become increasingly difficult to remain productive, so when we heard from you regarding this program, we mobilized the whole community as we know these would improve our livelihoods over time”.
One of the participants, Mrs. Cecilia Simeon, on behalf of other participants thanked the organizers of the program for bringing such an impactful opportunity to their community.
The training program which had in attendance more women and youths was practical as farmers learned firsthand how to create plantain nurseries, treat and multiply their suckers to prevent disease, and climate-friendly farming techniques.
Melwing is empowering smallholder plantain farmers across five states to improve their productivity while creating market access for them for immediate off-take of their produce at a fair market price for onward processing in their facility in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. This strategy according to the CEO, is to improve food security in the plantain Value chain which Nigeria has a comparative advantage over other African countries.