NI: National Horticultural Research Institute paves the way for innovation

The National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan, has blazed the trails in horticultural research, technological development, extension services and product development. 

The institute’s mandate is to conduct research into the genetic improvement, production, processing, storage, utilisation and marketing of tropical fruits, vegetables, spices and ornamental plants. The institute has a wide array of horticultural crops currently researched upon, from which a myriad of technologies has been generated.

These include citrus: sweet orange, lemon, lime, tangelo, grapefruit, shaddock, tangerine; fruits: mango, plantain/banana, pawpaw, pineapple, guava, avocado pear and passion fruit; indigenous fruits: Irvingia (Ogbono), walnut, Chrysophyllum albidum (Agbalumo – Yoruba), African breadfruit, native pear (Ube); fruit vegetables: tomato, pepper, okra, cucumber, garden egg, watermelon; leafy vegetables: Amaranthus, Telfairia (Ugwu), Corchorus (Ewedu), Celosia (Soko), Solanum macrocarpon (Igbagba –Yoruba)

Others are indigenous vegetables: Basella alba (amunututu – Yoruba), Crassocephalum rubens (ebolo- Yoruba), Launae teraxacifolia (yanrin -Yoruba); spices: Ocimum spp. (Basil), tumeric, Gnetum africanum (Okazi), Aframomum spp. (Atare) and ornamentals: rose, pitanga, frangipani and marigold.

The Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) is the supervisory council while the Institute’s Governing Board is headed by Major General Garba Mohammed (Rtd). The current Executive Director is Dr Abayomi Akeem Olaniyan, who, in collaboration with the Internal Management Committee members, direct the affairs of the institute.

As the only horticultural research institute with a national mandate, it is positioned towards helping to achieve the Green Alternative policy of the Federal Government which is a roadmap towards diversifying the Nigeria economy. Hence, horticulture constitutes a major key player to fine-tune domestic production of horticultural crops and also reduce importation of concentrates utilised by fruit juice industries, contrary to raw products. Role of horticulture in national economy includes employment generation, wealth creation, provision of raw materials for industries, foreign exchange earnings, etc.

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