Dutse — In its efforts to improve hibiscus production for export, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has flagged off the distribution of improved hibiscus seeds, locally known as Zobo, to 5000 farmers in Jigawa State.
In his address during the flag-off in Andaza area of Dutse, the Northwest coordinator of the council, Alhaji Hassan Bala, said the state was chosen to commence the distribution because it occupied the first position in the production of the commodity in the country.
He added that the commodity was currently one of the best sources for foreign exchange earnings, hence the decision of NEPC to support the farmers for a better harvest and proper processing for export.
"Zobo is now a precious commodity in the world market due to its value chain. In the past, there were problems encountered due to the quality of the commodity being exported; therefore, NEPC will monitor the farming activity at all stages from planting, harvesting and packaging to ensure that the best quality product is packaged and exported," he said.
He said each package given to a farmer could be used to cultivate at least one and a half hectares of land.
The National Secretary, Association of Hibiscus Flower Exporters of Nigeria, John Oshevire, said the commodity was being rejected in the European markets because of the use of the pesticide; Chlorpyrifos.
He advised farmers to use local manure or organic fertilizer instead of chemical fertilizer in hibiscus farming to avoid contamination.