The Federal Government has commenced the distribution of improved food storage facilities to farmers in 19 states of the country to boost food security.
This initiative which is facilitated by the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), is set to benefit farmers, vulnerable women and youths.
So far, a thousand iced-fish boxes, 600 NSPRI hermetic steel drums, 120 NSPRI smoking kiln and 18 parabolic solar dryers, have been distributed in the first phase of the programme.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony in Ilorin, Kwara state, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, said that the development will go a long way in improving the food production in the country while boosting the socio-economic growth of Nigerians.
According to Umakhihe, the Federal Government has identified poor post-harvest management system among farmers as the major culprit impeding the growth of Nigeria’s agricultural development.
“Post-harvest losses are one of the major problems of the Nigerian agricultural sector as food losses due to the poor-harvest technologies have potential effects on food security and nutrition and these causes shortage of food supply, availability, access and utilization.
“Access to improved storage systems and technology is a perfect strategy in reducing food loses both at the harvest, home and market,” he stated.
Umakhihe who was represented by the Director, External Services, FMARD, Mr. Frank Kuala, further stated that the quest for enhanced food security in Nigeria was the major target of FMARD.
“We are continually making efforts in the areas of skill development and empowerment of Nigerian farmers to improve production and productivity.
“It is due to this stand that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development directed the board and management of NSPRI to key into the vision of the Federal Government driven by the ministry to make food production abundant for all and sundry in the country.
“The efforts of NSPRI towards alleviating the pains and conditions of vulnerable women and young people in our society is a testimony of your commitments to the pursuits of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda for economic diversification through the agricultural sector,” he said
On her part, the Executive Director of the NSPRI, Dr. Patricia Pessu, stated that the institute is committed to improving food storage in the country.
“We recognize that women in rural areas across Nigeria play an increasingly pivotal role in agricultural production as well as post-harvest activities. Estimates of involvement of women across the agricultural value chain range from 20 percent to 70 percent.
“So, with more support and encouragement, these hardworking women can deliver more economic value to our country, while helping to drive the government’s food security agenda,” Pessu noted.
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