AS part of efforts geared towards putting an end to post-harvest losses being recorded in the country, the Federal Government has called on stakeholders in the Nigerian agricultural sector to support government’s efforts in order to achieve the desired results.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Muazu AbdulKadir, made the call in Ilorin recently, when he paid a visit to the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRl), Ilorin.
AbdulKadir, while addressing the management of NSPRl, noted that Nigeria was losing billions of naira annually to post-harvest losses of various farm produce due to lack of well-equipped storage facilities.
“Over sixty per cent of tomatoes, onions, cashew, mangoes, oranges, and watermelon, among others harvested in Nigeria are lost after harvesting.
“The Federal Government is working round the clock to address the problem, to allow the country to maintain food sufficiency.
“I, hereby, call on stakeholders in the Agricultural Sector to collaborate with the government by coming up with modern scientific approaches on curbing post-harvest losses.’’
AbdulKadir praised the foresight of NSPRl in the preservation of farm produce, fabrication of farm implements, storage facilities and ensuring reduction of post-harvest losses of farm produce, as a priority.
He said the Ministry would continue to give necessary assistance within the available resources to NSPRl, to meet its mandate in farm produce storage and other agricultural activities.
The Executive Director of NSPRl, Dr Patricia Pessu, in her remarks, told the permanent secretary of several interventions currently being embarked upon by the institute, aimed at curbing post-harvest losses of farm produce.
Pessu appealed to the Ministry to assist the institute in the realisation of its objective at curbing post-harvest losses, to create employment for the teeming unemployed, and further boost the national economy.
She called on the Federal Government to allow NSPRl to be represented in the intervention committee related to food security.
The NSPRI boss requested that the Ministry give intellectual property rights to agricultural researchers, as a way of encouraging them to do more at ensuring food preservation.
Dr Bassey solicited for the support of the Minister and other stakeholders to facilitate the passage of the bill establishing the National Environmental Institute into law.
In her words, “We as a group have over the years sponsored the bill to establish a National Environmental Institute of Nigeria in the National Assembly without success. We recently represented it for consideration’’.
The bill according to the President of NES, is to ensure that only those with requisite skills and expertise should be allowed to take part in Environmental issues and consultancy.
The Permanent Secretary, Abel Olumuyiwa Enitan in his remarks, commended the Society for taking interest in the ministry’s activities and their commitment to environmental issues and welcomes the offer for partnership.
“I can only assure you that the ministry is ready and desirous of partnering with a serious, credible and well-organised entity, society and groups to drive the agenda of making our environment more conducive and sustainable in line with the socio-political mandates of this administration and other levels,’’ he emphasized.
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