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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Post-harvest solutions, catalyst for poverty reduction, economic growth – IFAD

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) says post-harvest solutions are key for catalysing poverty reduction and economic growth.

Dede Ekoue
Dede Ekoue, IFAD Country Director

Mrs Dede Ekoue, IFAD Nigeria Country Director, spoke at the “1st Post-harvest Connect Conference and Exhibition” holding in Abuja.

The theme of the conference is “Scaling Appropriate Postharvest Solutions for Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security.’’

The conference was organised by the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), among others.

Ekoue said the conference’s theme underscored the critical role that appropriate post-harvest solutions played in achieving sustainable food production, ensuring food security and addressing nutrition challenges.

She said it was estimated that the country lost N3.5 trillion annually due to post harvest losses.

Ekoue said that smallholder farmers as mostly affected by the challenge.

She, however, said that IFAD was jointly financing transformative projects in line with the National Food System Transformation Pathways in contribution to the reduction of post-harvest losses.

Ekoue identified some of the projects as the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises Project in the Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) and Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP).

“These projects ensure access to finance by small-scale farmers and cooperatives for investment in post-harvest facilities and equipment, establishment of collective/community-based processing and storage centers with appropriate equipment including digital equipment.

“Training farmers on post-harvest handling and storage skills including timing of harvest, crop drying, moisture management and safe storage and upgrading of grain drying equipment.

“Support to the formation and implementation of national agricultural strategies and food systems policies that promote, enhanced government’s investments and multi-stakeholder’s cooperation for the reduction of post-harvest losses,” he said.

The country director said IFAD and the Federal Government, through the FMAFS, had launched new Country Strategic Opportunities Programme (COSOP) 2024 to 2029.

She said the gesture aligned with the transformation strategies of Presidential Emergency Declaration on the country’s Food Security.

According to her, the new cooperation strategy will scale up investments and deepen stakeholders’ partnership to further reduce post-harvest losses for more inclusive and sustainable food system.

She assured that the organisation would leverage the potential of NSPRI in achieving the strategic objective.

The NSPRI is one of the research institutes under the supervision of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) in FMAFSl.

It is mandated to carry out research into bulk storage problems of export commodities and local food crops.

By Felicia Imohimi

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