The Nigerian Stored Product Research Institute (NSPRl), in llorin, has harped on reducing the youth unemployment through agricultural training programmes.
Dr Patricia Pessu, Executive Director of the institute, said this in llorin yesterday at the capacity building programme for 40 corps members on prevention of post-harvest losses of produce.
Over 40% of foods produced in Nigeria are estimated to be wasted as a result of poor handling, lack of storage facilities and low level of value addition.
Youths, she said, could play active roles in preventing the wastage using technologies and scientific tools that older generation of farmers and food aggregators find difficult to apply.
According to her, there is always emphasis on perishable and non-perishable food production without storage facilities to keep them in case there is famine.
She noted that Nigeria has lost millions of naira to post-harvest losses, affecting food availability, prices, nutrition and the nation’s economy.
The institute, she added, is embarking on the training of corps members on prevention of post-harvest losses to make them self-reliant and create employment opportunities.
She said the institute normally gives take-off grants to some of the trained corps members to engage in prevention of post-harvest losses and other agricultural programmes.
“The alarming rate of youth unemployment in Nigeria informed the decision of the institute to embark on the training programmes to reduce youth unemployment,” she said.
Alhaji Muritala Olanrewaju, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, while declaring open the training programme, reiterated the commitment of the state government to improving the agricultural sector.
He called on stakeholders to always support government initiatives on food production and storage.
The state coordinator of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Mrs Fransisca Olaleye, expressed gratitude to the management of NSPRI for organising the training. Forty corps members were selected from all the 16 local government areas of the state for the training programme.