There is an adage that says Health is Wealth. Therefore, a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. To be healthy is to be in a state of being well and be food secured; while food security is the availability, accessibility and affordability of high quality nutritions food in adequate sources of vitamins, proteins, minerals and micro-nutrients. Increase in their consumption is being promoted because of the health benefits of micro-nutrients as well as many non-nutrients phytochemicals, which are associated with heath maintenance and prevention of chronic diseases.
Food security is a nations security but sadly enough; the prevailing food situation in most parts of the world in recent times has reached a crisis level. For instance, the FAO index of food prices rose by 9%, 23% and 54% in 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively. Over 2 billion people worldwide are undernourished and many more suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. The number tends to increase further, especially in Sub-Sahara Africa (FAO, 2008). Horticultural crops can play a vital role in solving this global nutrient crisis due to her nutritive qualities and ready availability across the country sagro-ecologies (UN 2004).Nigeria is blessed with various agro ecologies from mangroves forest in the South coastal areas where rainfall as low as <500mm per annum, favour the production of various staples, arable fruit, trees and vegetable crops (Alabi&Ibiyemi, 2000).
With this diverse ecologies and favourable weather conditions, Nigeria has an immense comparative advantage and potential to lead in the world trade in the different horticultural production (NIHORT, 2008); In general, the farming system in Nigeria feature mainly as mixed or multiple cropping systems including relay of staple or permanent tree crops with different vegetable crops planted in the alleys. These vegetables are often short duration crops which are usually harvested in a few months and sold so as to provide the needed income for the subsistence farmer pending the maturity of the longer duration permanent tree crops (Agboola 2006).
In spite of this agro-ecological advantages, Nigeria still remains one of the food deficit countries in sub-Sahara Africa where more than 53 million, especially women and children are said to be undernourished due to lack of the consumption of nutritious foods, fruits and vegetables.
Agriculture is a sector in the nations economy which employs majority (75% of the populace and contributes to poverty and hunger reduction, prevents rural-urban migration, generate employment and create wealth (Adejobi, 2012).
Therefore, to live healthy life the masses must be food secured (United Nations 1975, World Bank, 1986) which is a situation that exists when all people at all times have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets the dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life (FAO/WHO 1992; FAO, 1996).
Horticulture Nuritio, Health, Wealth