Nigeria records N2.7tr post-harvest losses yearly
The Executive Director, Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), Prof. Olufemi Peters has revealed that Nigeria loses more than $8.9 billion (N2.7 trillion) annually as a result of post-harvest food losses.
Peters made the disclosure at the opening ceremony of a two-day capacity building workshop on ‘’agricultural products loss, reduction and value addition for rural farmers,’’ held at Ahiazu Mbaise Local Council of Imo State.
He said the figure was part of the joint findings by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO’s) Fact Sheet published in 2013 and NSPRI survey conducted in the six geo-political zones of the country of that year.
“More than 51.3 metric tonnes of food are lost due to post-harvest food losses for all the agricultural products from the country. The institute further observed that the losses were much higher in rural communities that were in dire need of development because of inadequate presence of basic facilities and infrastructure.
“Presently, post-harvest food losses for grains, roots and tubers, fruits and vegetable, livestock and fisheries, and many more are about 15, 35, 50, and 30 per cent, respectively. The money, the country is losing could be annual budget of more than 20 countries, because almost one quarter of the staple and perishable foods produced in Nigeria never reach the consumers,’’ he said.
He said that if the situation were handled, the nation would have attained food self-sufficiency, leading to becoming a major food products exporter.
Represented by the Director, Post- Harvest Engineering, Dr Foline Folorunso Olayemi, the NSPRI Executive Director, regretted that post-harvest loss was a major challenge in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
He said if Nigeria must achieve food security, the stakeholders in the post-harvest value chain must synergize to safe-keeping after post harvest exercise.
Peters continued: “In spite of the remarkable progress made in food production in the country, successive governments had not adequately identified and addressed the challenge of post-harvest value chain,’’ he said.
He added that the agency had worked hard with years of post-harvest research experience and expertise, developing post-harvest technologies.
Peters advised participants drawn from communities in Ahiazu Mbaise area to take advantage of the training to tackle post-harvest losses.
Contributing, the Programme Manager of the Imo State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), Pastor Anayochi Jonathan, described the training as very important, given the roles farmers play in food and agricultural yields.
He urged farmers to take what they learn at the workshop seriously, noting that they should as well teach more people in their communities.
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