AS part of measures to lift the economy and sustain ongoing diversification to agriculture, the Federal Government has unveiled fresh agenda to save not less than $8 Billion from post-harvest food storage.
Specifically, the Federal Government intends to achieve this process through an Agency under the Federal ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute in Ilorin, Kwara state.
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri confirmed this when the Executive Director of NSPRI, Professor Olufemi Peters and his team visited the Minister in Abuja.
A statement posted on the ministry’s website by Mrs Aishat Ayijimoh Onusi, Adviser on New Media to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, quotted Lokpobiri as saying the institute has been able to fabricate and develop technologies to reduce the storage problems of all food crops in Nigeria with the aim of increasing Nigeria’s agricultural self-sufficiency through adequate post-harvest loss reduction.
The statement explained that this no doubt will greatly ensure that agricultural produce are properly kept within the food supply chain.
Speaking further, the Minister said that findings from FAO factsheets and NSPRI survey conducted in all geo-political zones in 2013 estimated food losses to be 51.3 MT across all crops valued at 8.9 billion dollars.
Lokpobiri also assured the team from NSPRI of government’s determination to support and strengthen the Research institute with necessary funding to enable them perform their mandate among which is the development of post-harvest technologies for farmers and cottage industries.
Earlier, according to a statement endorsed by Deputy Director (Information), Mrs Lere Adams, A.B, the Executive Director of NSPRI, Prof. Olufemi Peters briefed the Minister on their efforts and achievements in positioning the institute to play a critical role in the country’s quest for not only food security and sufficiency but also as a foreign exchange earner and economic booster.
Prof. Peters also stated that the institute would continue to develop appropriate post-harvest technologies for farmers, agro-allied industries and other relevant stakeholders.
The institute has so far carried out research into the improvement and maintenance of quality of all crops (including fisheries and livestock)