Farmers groan over post-harvest challenges

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tomatoes

The cleaning season is here, and farmers consider the loss instead of reaping the fruits of their labor. Charles Madoubooke writes about the situation and the way forward.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that, according to forecasts, in 2018, economic growth will reach 2% growth, provided that sustainable growth in agriculture continues. Consequently, in the second quarter of 2018, the economy grew by 1.5%; declining from 1.9% expansion in the first quarter as production increased in some sectors, including agriculture, declined.

Stakeholders associate them with the problems associated with post-harvest crop processing, mainly based on a poor value chain, infrastructure problems and market inaccessibility. The founder of products and farms Tolulou, Tolulop Ayna, explaining the situation, said The Guardian "There is an obvious disconnection of farmers, processors and marketers."

In addition, she said: "Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world, but we still have a limited supply of cassava based products at the local level, and therefore attractive imports. The demand for burning is 12 million metric tons per year, but about 7.4 metric tons are produced. Indeed, demand is not met. "

Thus, either processors do not receive enough products for processing, or remote farmers are stuck on farms with their products because of the broker's inability to produce a waste. This, she said, is one of the reasons for the huge financial losses for farmers. She explained this by referring to the farms in a marshy, hilly and inaccessible environment.

"It's difficult to find trappers after harvesting, but when this obstacle is ultimately eliminated, sometimes vehicles that take these crops from farms are destroyed because of bad roads, and this discourages supporters from patronizing these farms," ​​she said. Consequently, the task of the Hercules is to get the means to transfer crops to its point of demand, she added.

Aina explained that small-scale processing enterprises operating at optimal capacity are both limited and, in most cases, overloaded. A large-scale starch processing plant operating in its area in Ogun, which buys from farmers in the area, was inactive and therefore farmers are being deprived, she said.

According to her, burnt agriculture contributes to the simultaneous collection of vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes. Whenever there is high availability of these crops, oversaturation is inevitable, as the supply will inevitably exceed demand, thereby causing losses to farmers, she said. Oni Olajide, a farmer who planted a flute pumpkin and seedlings on several acres of land, mourned the inability to sell his agricultural products as his biggest problem.

Another farmer, Wall Bolarinwa, explained some of the losses experienced by farmers as a consequence of the lack of information for alternative markets, poor harvesting and packaging methods. Most farmers do not know the appropriate time for harvesting, how to sort these perishable fruits and suitable packaging materials, the farmer said, adding that most of them do not conduct proper feasibility studies before growing crops.

Chidozi Egioni, an agricultural business consultant, talking with The Guardian, mourned the lack of a permanent source of food in the country. "We grow vegetables and they need to be maintained in a cool temperature," he said, adding that "it costs a fortune to feed and serve" its cooling devices.

Aina said that the activities of intermediaries also aggravated the problems of marketing with farmers, since the first turned themselves into bondage, replacing each other farmers. Citing corn as an example, the cob on the farm, she said, will be bought on N10, and then sellers sell about N50. Ironically, while farmers complain about excess and low prices, consumers mourn the high cost. Consequently, the activities of intermediaries are rather market barriers.

In addition, the high cost of transportation was a serious factor causing a difference between farm and market prices. "If a truck with a watermelon is 30,000 tons, carriers tend to charge up to N20,000, leaving the farmer a paltry N10,000," adding that this will affect the cost of planting and selling the product.

The way forward

She said that the government's desire for Nigerians to participate in agriculture should be supported by development activities, she added, adding that in each state processing and storage facilities should be created. This, she said, eliminates surplus and stabilizes prices for agricultural products, as accumulated yields will be available to buyers during deficit periods. Moreover, she encouraged farmers to see farming as a business that should be managed in the same way as a financial analyst would reasonably manage the firm.

Aina said: "Answers to such questions as" when, when and how best to plant certain crops, "should be looked for by farmers to use these opportunities." "Where" is the location of the farms, "when", indicates the best time to plant, while "how" looks at the best practices that should be employed, since efficiency is the key to optimal productivity and profitability, she added.

Farmers should be educated when it is best to collect perishable plants such as fruits and vegetables, as the need for long haulage encourages harvesting when fruits such as tomatoes reach maturity. In addition, the maturation of tomatoes, bananas and mangoes can be delayed by coating them with wax materials developed by Nigeria's Nigerian Storage Research Institute (NSPRI).

Ejionye advocated the improvement of infrastructure, such as road networks and electricity, adding that a stable energy supply would facilitate the processing and storage of harvested crops. Olajade urged the government of all levels to help farmers eliminate excess and discourage the practice of intermediaries, which, he said, were impoverished farmers.

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