70 entrepreneurs get GAIN’s Lagos post-harvest training
No fewer than 70 participants, comprising entrepreneurs, members of cooperative societies, research and agricultural departments of academic institutions, financial service providers and regulatory agencies, have completed training with the Post-harvest Loss Alliance for Nutrition (PLAN) programme in Lagos.
The three-day workshop, an initiative of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) titled, “Proximate Processing Technologies and Methods for Tomato and Plantain,” groomed actors and stakeholders in the fresh fruits and vegetables value chain on ways to reduce post-harvest losses.
Funded by the Government of The Netherlands and facilitated by the Managing Director of Betamark Production Company Limited, Mr. Duro Kuteyi, the workshop content was designed to help participants acquire the essential knowledge and skills to set up and operate small-medium scale processing/packaging operations in their different locations.
According to the Senior Project Manager, PLAN, Dr. Augustine Okoruwa, PLAN “is predicated on the fact that Nigeria presently produces large quantities of fruits and vegetables, but almost 50 per cent of that is lost after harvest.
“We need to reduce these losses and return them to the supply chain to reach the tables of consumers. We identified three intervention points in the supply chain of fresh fruits and vegetables – the lack of cold chain storage and logistics, inadequate crating and packaging, as well as inadequate food processing facilities.
“One of the interventions is proximate processing of fresh fruits and vegetables, which means processing them close to where they are produced, thereby adding value to the produce so that they are not wasted.”
“If tomato and plantain are processed into other usable forms with good nutritional value like tomato juice, paste, puree and unripe plantain flour and chips, that would help reduce post-harvest losses of these perishable commodities.
“This training is an avenue to sensitize people in the post-harvest value chain, to ensure that these nutritious foods are not wasted but processed into value added products. The more we have people who embrace the value addition to our perishable commodities and produce, the better we are able to make the products available throughout the year.”