The Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) Ibadan centre, has said Nigeria has environment-friendly patented technologies that can reduce post-harvest losses.
Dr Grace Otitodun, the Zonal Coordinator of NSPRI, made the claim in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Wednesday.
Otitodun said, “It is imperative for anyone in the agricultural value chain to do it right instead of using chemicals as preservatives for post-harvest storage. NSPRI has come up with several locally made technologies that address post-harvest losses and improve shelf life of crops.”
The opportunities are enormous in agriculture, she said, as everybody relies on food but the use of chemicals is harmful to the users and even the consumers of the farm produce.
“That is why NSPRI is saddled with the responsibility of providing locally made technologies to solve myriads of problems in the post-harvest and value chains of agriculture in Nigeria.’’
The zonal coordinator further said that the agency had the mandate to conduct research and develop technologies into reduction of post-harvest losses in Nigeria.
She said the institute had been involved in various training programmes for youths and corps members in particular to expose them to agribusiness business they could do post-NYSC, instead of looking for white collar jobs.
“For the institute to be more effective in handling this task, we have different programmes. There is one for durables, cereals and pulses, for perishable crops such as fruits and vegetables, roots and tubers as well as fisheries and livestock.
“We also hold outreaches where developed technologies are disseminated; the institute has agricultural engineers that develop, design and fabricate technologies which our scientists test and if found effective are pushed for patenting and on the shelf for takeoff,’’ Otitodun said.
She advised against the use of pesticides and other chemicals in food preservation as they could decrease nutritional quality of food and hamper the health of those handling it for storage.
Otitodun said some of the NSPRI’s technologies included Inert Atmospheric Silo which is airtight and different from the conventional ones seen around.
Others, according to her, are NSPRI Dust for grains storage, evaporative coolant system for fruits and vegetables, stackable crates for tomatoes, cane baskets for keeping vegetables fresh, smoking kilns and ice fish boxes for transporting fish to long distances.
Others are multi-crop dryer for drying agricultural produce (rice, beans, cassava, yam, etc.), and maize crib for storage of maize and other grains.