Nigerian agricultural scientists have been challenged to develop pineapple suckers capable of producing multiple fruits instead of one at a time.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees of Pineapple Growers, Processors and Marketers Association and President of First MAF Limited, Okekunle Akintunde, threw up the challenge following the discovery of a pineapple sucker that produced nine fruits at a farm in Sawonjo, Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State.
According to his report, the sucker was not genetically modified but farmers discovered the sucker, which produced nine fruits with conjoined twins of 12, producing 21 fruits.
While calling on researchers to beam their searchlight on the new discovery, he noted that all attempts to get to the U.S-Nigeria investment summit to discuss the discovery proved abortive.
“We applied for US-Nigeria investment summit, but unfortunately, we were denied visa to attend the summit which is supposed to come up on September 17 and 18.
‘‘We have something to sell to the world because we want scientists to investigate what is responsible for this and if there is anyway there can be genetic modification, whereby pineapple farmers can be harvesting three or more fruits from a sucker, that would be a good achievement.
‘‘I want to believe that it is a divine authority of multiplication that happened here. Researchers and scientists can know what is responsible for this,” Okekunle added.
He added that to demystify the multiple fruits from a pineapple sucker, the farm had consulted academicians at Covenant University, and two professors of agro-allied sciences said they would work on it.
Speaking on government support, he said the association needs equipment and funding to enable it become more productive.
Okekunle noted that land-clearing and preparation equipment, such tractors and planters, among others, would be needed to plant and produce more.