By Ifeanyi Olannye
The federal government, in partnership with the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), has started training Agricultural Development Project (ADP) staff in the South-East and South-South areas of the country.
The Nigerian News Agency reports that the four-day training program, which started on Wednesday in Sapele, aimed to equip farmers with the required knowledge on post–harvest loss management in the region.
In her opening remarks, NSPRI Executive Director Dr Patricia Pessu said the training program aimed to impart knowledge on post-harvest management, through ADP staff, to rural farmers.
Pessu said post-harvest losses have had a significant effect on the economy.
“The institute would take advantage of the platform to disseminate information and share experiences as well as achievements in post-harvest management to reduce post-harvest losses,” she said.
She said about 30 percent of grains, like maize, sorghum, millet, cowpea, roots and tubers like yam, cassava and potatoes were lost after harvest in the country.
“About 50 of the fruits and vegetables produced in Nigeria are also lost after harvest. Unfortunately, these losses are in rural areas, which are in urgent need of development. “
She described ADP officials as partners and stakeholders in the agricultural sector, who had over the years “helped improve the livelihoods of farmers by providing them with inputs such as fertilizers and seedlings.
“As we know, post-harvest has not been at the forefront of their roles and we, with the mandate to conduct research on post-harvest losses, have decided as part of our 2021 project to involve the ADP, aware of their importance at the base ”.
“So we are able to engage them in all the technologies available in the industry realizing that because they are close to the grassroots they will be able to impact farmers and eventually improve their livelihoods, then s ‘to improve. the economy, ”Pessu said.
The boss of NSPRI assured that the partnership would continue even after the training program.
She said the institute intended to have some of the technologies in certain locations that would be identified by ADPs, where farmers would have access to the facilities and use them for free.
In his remarks, Delta State Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Mr. John Onovughe, said the training would allow ADP staff to orient farmers on the way to preserve their products.
“The training is commendable because it will be good if we can get it right this time around; post-harvest storage will boost the Nigerian economy.
“The technological innovation of post-harvest training will improve the living conditions of farmers,” he said.
Earlier, the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources Chief Julius Egbedi, represented by Mr. Edwin Odiete, program director at the ministry, said the farmers tasked with feeding the nation lacked facilities to store their products after harvest.
He added that the training would equip farmers with the required knowledge and new methods of preserving their crops.
Egbedi also said that the knowledge imparted during the training would be extended to farmers on how best to preserve their products, especially those in rural areas.
One of the trainees, Mr. Godwin Eze, thanked the ministry and NSPRI for the workshop, assuring that everything they learned would be extended to farmers, to help reduce post-harvest losses in the country.
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