The Federal Government, on Saturday, urged stakeholders in the agricultural sector to collaborate with governments at all levels to minimise post-harvest losses of farm produce being recorded in the country.
Dr Muazu AbdulKadir, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, made the call in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital when he paid a visit to the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRl), Ilorin.
AbdulKadir, while addressing the management of NSPRl, noted that Nigeria was losing billions of naira annually to post-harvest losses of various farm produce due to lack of well-equipped storage facilities.
“Over sixty per cent of tomatoes, onions, cashew, mangoes, oranges, and watermelon, among others harvested in Nigeria is lost after harvesting.
“The Federal Government is working round the clock to address the problem, to allow the country to maintain food sufficiency.
“I, hereby, call on stakeholders in the agricultural sector to collaborate with the government by coming up with modern scientific approaches on curbing post-harvest losses.’’
AbdulKadir praised the foresight of NSPRl in the preservation of farm produce, fabrication of farm implements, storage facilities, and ensuring reduction of post-harvest losses of farm produce, as a priority.
He said the ministry would continue to give necessary assistance within the available resources to NSPRl, to meet its mandate in farm produce storage and other agricultural activities.
The Executive Director of NSPRl, Dr Patricia Pessu, explained various interventions currently being embarked upon by the institute to curb post-harvest losses.
Pessu appealed to the ministry to assist the institute in the realisation of its objective at curbing post-harvest losses, to create employment for the teeming unemployed, and further boost the national economy.
She called on the Federal Government to allow NSPRl to be represented in the intervention committee related to food security.
The NSPRI boss requested that the ministry give intellectual property rights to agricultural researchers, as a way of encouraging them to do more at ensuring food preservation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the permanent secretary later inspected the laboratories of the institute and its fabricated farm implements with storage faculties.