By Onoriode Etatsemi
In a bid to curb post harvest losses among farmers in the country, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Nigeria Stored Product Research Institute (NSPRI) organized a four day training programme for staff of the Agricultural Development Projects (ADP) with persons selected from states in the South-South and South East geopolitical zones of the country.
The training which was anchored on technological innovation in post-harvest management was held in Sapele, Delta State.
Addressing the participants during the opening of the four-day training programme , the Executive Director of the Institute, Dr(Mrs.) Patricia Pessu said “that the training programme was aimed to step down knowledge on post-harvest management through the ADP staff to farmers in the rural areas.”
The Executive Director, said that “post harvest losses had a significant effect on the economy. The institute would be taking advantage of the platform as an opportunity to disseminate information and share their experiences as well as achievements on post harvest management to reduce post harvest losses. ”
“Losses on grains such as maizes, sorghum, millet, cowpea is between 20%, 25%, and 30% in root and tuber crops such as yam, cassava and potatoes while about 50%of fruits and vegetables are lost post harvest, unfortunately this loss are from the rural area, that are in dire need of development” She added.
The NSPRI boss, who described ADP officials as partners and stakeholders in the agricultural sector, said that “over the years, they had helped to improve the livelihood of the farmers by helping to provide inputs such as fertilizers and seedlings.
“As we know, post-harvest has not been in the forefront of their roles and we, having the mandate to conduct research on post-harvest losses, decided as part of our 2021 project to get the ADPs on board, realizing their importance at their grassroots”.
“So, we are able to bring them on board to put them through all the available technologies in the industry realizing that they are close to the grassroots and they will be able to impact on the farmers and to eventually improve their livelihood and then improve the economy.”
She also said that the partnership would continue after the training programme , adding that the institute intended to have some of the technologies in some places that would be identified by the ADPs where the farmers would access facilities and use them free of charge.
Also speaking, the Delta State coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Mr John Onovughe in his goodwill message said that the training program would enable ADP staff to orientate farmers on how to preserve their goods.
“The training is commendable as it will be nice if we can get it right this time around, post harvest storage will boost the Nigeria economy.
Technology innovation of post harvest training will enhance the living condition of the farmer”, he added.
One of the trainees, Eng Godwin Eze thanked the Ministry and NSPRI for the capacity building workshop assuring that whatever they were taught would be impacted on others to enable them , especially farmers help to reduce lost of produce in post harvest.
Declaring the workshop open, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, represented by Mr Edwin Odiete, Programme Manager of the ministry of Agriculture Asaba said that farmers were responsible for feeding the nation, adding that they lacked post harvest storage facilities
He added that the training would improve the method of preserving the food, stressing that the knowledge acquired in the course of the training would be extended to farmers on how best to preserve their produce especially those in the rural areas.