NIGERIA is said to be losing over N50 billion to post-harvest losses of agricultural produce annually.
Speaking during the 2019 in-house review meeting programme of the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), a former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Professor Lateef Sanni, said that reduction in post-harvest losses is capable of ensuring food security and improving food sufficiency.
Professor Sanni, who is also the current president, international institute for tropical root crops, said that despite that Nigeria is the world largest producer of yam (23 million tonnes), cassava (54 million tonnes) and plantain, in the world, said agric researchers should do more on post harvest development to reduce losses.
The agriculture expert, who said the cash crops, among others could yield billions of dollars to the nation, lamented that not much was being done on value addition or post harvest loss reduction.
The programme, themed, Empirical research in post harvest as a driver for agricultural productivity and economic development, was aimed at value addition, efficiency and effectiveness of researches in post harvest development.
Professor Sanni also advocated empirical research on post harvest losses that is done with end users/clients in mind rather than researches that are carried out for end users to take thereafter.
Also speaking, executive director, NSPRI, Dr. Patricia Pessu, said that post harvest losses in sub Saharan Africa ranges between four and 80 per cent, adding that a lot has to be done to reduce post harvest losses among farmers.
The NSPRI boss said that the institute has government mandate to conduct research, disseminate and train on post harvest losses, adding that there is a platform for farmers, off-takers, processors and end users to benefit research.
The chairman governing board of the institute, Engineer Nick Wende, said that NSPRI had developed technologies aimed at reducing post harvest losses of agricultural produce, adding that some of the technologies had been patented while others are in the process and will be completed soon.