The federal government has commenced training of farmers on good agricultural practice and postharvest handling of Artemisia Annua in the country.
The plant is used for the production of Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT), an anti-malaria agent used for treating malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum and P.
vivax, including the multi-drug-resistant strain.
The training brought farmers from Plateau, Kano, Jigawa, Cross River and Enugu states.
Engr Abdullahi Abubakar, Director Department of Agriculture, during the training said it was obvious that many farmers do not have skills on production and post-harvest handling protocol of the crop.
“Hence, the need to train farmers on Good Agricultural Practice and Production protocol to optimally and sustainably produce the biomass for factories that are into Artemisia extraction to achieve imports substitution and self-sufficiency in Artemisia utilization,” he added.
Abubakar, however, said the workshop was borne out of the need for government to create awareness on the benefits of the crop and upgrade the technical know-how of relevant Project Support Offices, Extension Staff, Subjects Matters Specialists of ADPs and Farmers on the systemic and well-coordinated approach required in Artemisia Annua production and utilisation.
According to the initiator for Artemisia project in Nigeria, and National Resource person, Chike Innocent, the plant, if upgraded, would serve many purposes in the country.
He said the main objective of the project was to eradicate malaria in Nigeria.
“Nigeria spends a lot of money to import malaria drugs and we never knew that there is malaria politics in the country.
Drugs companies don’t want malaria to stop because they are making a lot money,” he said.
FG Prepares Farmers For Postharvest Handling Of Artemisia, Malaria Plant