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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Agriculture stakeholders recommend more investment in post-harvest management

Stakeholders in the agricultural sector have called for improved investment by government and private organisations in the area of technology and infrastructure to enhance post-harvest management in the country.

Sen. Abubakar Kyari
Sen. Abubakar Kyari, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security

They made the call on Friday, April 19, 2024, in Abuja at the “1st Post-harvest Connect Conference and Exhibition.”

The theme of the conference is “Scaling Appropriate Post-Harvest Solutions for Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security.”

The stakeholders said that the measure would guarantee food and nutrition security, income generation and make the nation an agricultural hub in the world.

Dr Canisius Kanangire, Executive Director, African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), said more investments were required in post-harvest management to transform the food system in alignment with the challenges of small holder farmers in Africa.

Kanangire, in his paper entitled, “Scaling Appropriate Postharvest Solutions for Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security,” said addressing post-harvest challenge would make huge impact in commercialisation, improve climate resilience among farmers.

According to him, Nigeria loses a lot of revenues due to post-harvest challenges.

“Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa; we take one step forward in productivity and take two steps backward in post-harvest management,” he said.

Represented by Dr Emmanuel Okogbenin, a Senior Official in AATF, Kanangire further recommended that research institutes and investors should strengthen post-harvest management technology transfer delivery processes to reach smallholder farmers with technological support.

According to him, any technological innovations should consider the plight of farmers with regards to finances.

“So, there must be reduction in cost for affordability of small holder farmers,” he said.

Dr Alfred Dixon, Chairman, Governing Board, Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI), said boosting post-harvest solutions not only enhanced food availability but also ensured that nutritious food reached those who needed it most.

Dixon, who is also the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Country Representative in Sierra Leone, said Nigeria was facing challenges relating to post-harvest and food security.

He emphasised that through appropriate practices like scaling post-harvest solutions, tangible difference would be made in the lives of individuals and families.

“Sustainable postharvest practices not only help in reducing food losses but also contribute to the overall well-being of communities by ensuring access to nutritious food.

“Our efforts in promoting such practices are crucial in driving positive change and fostering resilience within Nigerian communities,” he said.

Dixon said the conference served as a light of hope to inspire others to join hands in the pursuit of a more sustainable future.

Dr Simon Ehui, Director General, IITA, said through collaborations post-harvest management could be revolutionalised, reduce food and waste as well as promote equitable access to nutritious food for all.

Jones, represented by Dr Beatrice Aoghewi, Head of Station, Abuja, quoted the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as saying that Sub-Saharan Africa experienced 20 per cent of food loss.

Dr Godwin Atser, Country Director, Sasakawa Africa Foundation, said curtailing post-harvest could make Nigeria food secured nation.

Atser assured that the organisation would continue to support initiatives geared towards making the nation food secured and enhance wealth in agricultural production.

The conference was organised by the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and other stakeholders.

By Felicia Imohimi

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