Nigeria faces a pressing issue in meeting the rising food demands and guaranteeing sufficient food security for its growing population, as post-harvest losses persistently wreak havoc on the nation’s food chain. These losses encompass the wastage of food throughout the entire chain, starting from crop harvest and extending all the way to consumption. Post-harvest losses in the food supply chain differ extensively across various crops and regions, resulting in the substantial wastage of produce during after harvest operations. This wastage predominantly occurs due to insufficient knowledge, inadequate technology and poor storage infrastructure.
These losses greatly impede the agricultural sector’s ability to contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Nigeria faces a staggering annual post-harvest loss of agricultural produce, amounting to an estimated N3.5 trillion. As a result, the government’s endeavours to swiftly enforce policies and implement programs for food sustainability might not bear favourable outcomes. During a recent media field day in Kano, Dr. Godwin Atser, the Country Director of the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA), made a notable observation as he inspected the post-harvest technology intervention implemented by the Kano State Agro-Pastoral Development Project (KSADP).
Fabricators have developed local technologies.
He acknowledged that Nigeria’s advancements in food production have been substantial. Nevertheless, the expert expressed concern about a considerable amount of food waste due to the lack of preservation technology. Dr. Atser emphasized the fact that post-harvest losses pose a tremendous challenge in both Nigeria and Africa as a whole. In order to ensure food security, Nigeria must urgently confront the persisting annual losses estimated to be about N3.5 trillion, resulting from post-harvest losses.
Dr. Atser, who led a group of reporters on a visit to a nearby fabrication workshop, which is among the KSADP/SAA beneficiaries, elucidated that the endeavour aims to enhance the proficiency of local fabricators in offering sustainable technological solutions. He asserted that after their skills are honed and they are provided with essential equipment, these fabricators have successfully developed local technologies, such as post-harvest machinery, to minimize wastage of crops. Dr. Atser restated that the KSADP/SAA initiative serves as a blueprint that Nigeria and other nations across Africa can emulate to foster economic growth and generate employment opportunities.
Required technology will be produced locally to reduce loss.
In addition, the importance of enhancing the skills of local equipment makers, specifically in the context of safeguarding farm resources, holds great importance within the realm of KSADP/SAA. Our utmost priority is to foster the growth of the value chain, which necessitates the involvement of local fabricators. This ensures that the required technology is produced locally, thereby minimizing the losses for farmers. By enhancing local content, this initiative aims to foster self-sufficiency and cut the cost of importing foreign technology, thus promoting sustainability.
Selected beneficiaries underwent a comprehensive training program aimed at enhancing their ability to manufacture and supply equipment for both local and African markets. Encouragingly, nations like Niger have already begun to express interest in these advanced technologies, leading to increased revenue and a significant boost to our GDP. Abubakar Umar, a grateful recipient of KSADP/SAA training, expressed his appreciation for the program’s impact on his life. He revealed that the acquired skill enabled him to successfully provide training to 15 young individuals.
Lessening post-harvest losses can bolster food supply.
Acquiring essential resources and equipment appears to be an ideal strategic move to addressing this concern. In a developing country like Nigeria, lessening post-harvest losses could offer a long-lasting remedy to bolster food supply, alleviate strain on natural resources, eradicate hunger, and enhance the lives of farmers. It is imperative for the nation to address the issues, as it will not only secure access to food and prevent starvation among its population but also hold immense economic advantages that the nation and its inhabitants have been yearning for.