The Federal Government has advised farmers to partner with experts in the area of agricultural research and development to curtail perennial post harvest losses of produce.
Prof. Hussaini Ibrahim, the Director General, Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), gave the advice in Sokoto at the inauguration of first Indigenous Onion and Garlic processing plant on Saturday, April 29, 2023.
Represented by Mr Emmanuel Kwaya, a Director in the council, Ibrahim said having an effective processing plant of agricultural products and initiating research based storage would improve food security for the country.
“This development will aid our commitment toward zero hunger, promote productivity and profitability among farmers, improve national economy and address the challenges of unemployment,” he said.
The director general added that, over the past three decades, the RMRDC has remained the national institutional framework for promoting local raw materials development and utilisation by industries.
“The gesture has achieved tremendous milestones in the development and growth of Nigeria’s industrial sector.
“Today marks an important milestone for the manufacturing industry in Nigeria as we commission the first wholly indigenous onion and garlic flakes processing plant.
“I am particularly delighted that this plant was designed and fabricated by Nigerian engineers following the call by the Council to reduce the perennial post-harvest wastages associated with onion and garlic,” he said.
Ibrahim commended the partners and investors who have made the project a reality.
“They have shown confidence in the Nigeria-can-do spirit and have taken concrete steps to help see our Research and Development (R&D) results in Onion and Garlic processing reach their full potential,” he said.
Mr Aliyu Maitasamu, the National President of Onion Farmers Association of Nigeria, said over 2 million metric tones of onion is produced annually in Nigeria with Sokoto State producing 40 per cent of the product.
“Based on the annual estimate, the onion produced in Nigeria amounted to more than N700 billion but about 40 to 50 per cent of the product worth over N300 billion is wasted to post harvest losses.
“This is due to lack of adequate and effective storage and processing facilities at the farmers disposal.
“We thank Onion and Garlic Processing Partnership Limited (O&G company) for coming to our rescue by establishing this timely processing plant,” he said.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, represented by the District Head of Sokoto-North, Alhaji Malami Maccido, appreciated the investors, assuring that the Sultanate Council will continue to support farmers in the state.
The Chairman of the company, Dr Saleh Ibrahim, said the idea was conceived by some elites in the state to rescue onion and garlic farmers from their perennial post-harvest loses.
He said that the plant would continue to consider more research and development in order to ease the current hardships experienced by farmers across the state.
By Muhammad Nasir