Storage facilities for farmers to combat post-harvest losses

By Gbenga Akinfenwa |   19 September 2021   |   3:01 am  

Representative of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Kudla and NSPRI Executive Director, Dr. Pessu, cutting the tape to flag off the distribution of the facilities.<br />

The Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), Ilorin, Kwara State has distributed food storage facilities to 1,738 farmers across 19 states, to stem the tide of post-harvest losses in the country.

During the special popularisation event of the institute’s innovations and distribution of agricultural storage facilities at its headquarters, Ilorin, 1,000 iced-Fish Boxes; 600 NSPRI Hermetic Steel Drums; 120 NSPRI Smoking Kilns; and 18 Parabolic Solar Dryers, were distributed to farmers and various farmers’ cooperative societies across the federation.

The Executive Director, NSPRI, Dr. (Mrs.) Patricia Pessu, during the event, said the storage facilities would provide the beneficiaries with decent livelihoods, thereby alleviating their burdens.

While thanking the Federal Government for the gesture, she expressed NSPRI’s determination to avail Nigerians of sustainable solutions to the problem of agricultural post-harvest losses, noting that the Institute’s innovations are predicated on the fundamental principles of effectiveness, cost-efficiency and availability.

“So far, under the guidance of our Board and the support of our management and staff, our scientists have come up with several innovations to support post-harvest storage of agricultural commodities. In the area of fisheries and livestock, for instance, we have the NSPRI Iced-Fish Box with which fish farmers and entrepreneurs can preserve freshly harvested fish for up to 48 hours.

“We have also developed the NSPRI Fish-Smoking Kilns, with which fish can be smoked in a convenient and healthy fashion. This way, fish farmers are spared the unnecessary labour associated with the traditional fish-smoking methods as fish smoked using this method is not only uniformly dried but also visually appealing and largely devoid of unhealthy smoke and soot residues.

“For grains and legumes, we have the NSPRI Hermetic Steel Drums, as well as the NSPRI Inert Atmosphere Silos for storage. We also have stackable fruit and vegetable baskets whose design is such that fruits and vegetables can be transferred from farm to market with minimal or no damage to the contents, as opposed to the traditional baskets of old.

“Another of our innovations is the parabolic-shaped solar dryer. This dryer utilizes the abundant sunshine across our country to speedily and hygienically dry different products including vegetables, grains, yam and cassava chips among many others.”

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture (FMARD), Mr. Ernest Umakhihe, who buttressed the importance of the management of agricultural harvests to national food security, commended NSPRI for complementing the efforts of the FMARD at empowering farmers with the skill and wherewithal to enhance production.

Represented by the Director of Extension Services, FMARD, Frank Satumari Kudla, the permanent secretary said the ministry recognised that poor post-harvest management has been a critical issue for many years in the agriculture sector and that it severely hampers the productivity of farmers.

While expressing delight with the synergy between the NSPRI and the other sister agencies in the ministry, Umakhihe advised the Institute not to rest on its oars but rather “further quicken the pace of innovations and their commercialisation in such a manner that the technologies become a lot more affordable than they currently are.”

He pledged the continued support of the ministry to enable NSPRI to continue to deliver on its mission excellently.

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