Executive Director with the Nigerian Stored Produces Research Institute (NSPRI) Ilorin, Kwara state, Mrs Patricia Pessu has expressed dismay with the post-harvest losses farmers incur due to lack of proper storage facilities.
Due to lack of good storage facilities, she said, most of our agricultural produces when stored are infested with insects or dried in an unhygienic open places thereby making the produce meant for export are usually rejected in the international markets.
Patricia who was represented by Northern Zonal Director with the Institute, Dr. Olaleye Oladimeji while speaking at the premises of Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP) during a free distribution of Hermetic Steel Drums for the storage of dried durable products to Women Associations, Market Women and Agricultural Produce Commodity Sellers for the storage and preservation of produce.
Patricia said, “The point is that, when a farmer goes to the farm, cultivate the land and plant his crops, maintain the farm and at the end of crops harvest, about 30% to 50% of the produce goes to waste because of the way he handles the crops or due to lack of storage facility to store them”.
She explained that the modified storage drums could be used without necessarily adding chemicals into the drums for preservation, and would safely last for a year or more defending the way the produce are stored.
According to her, NSPRI is saddled with the responsibility of carrying out research on how to reduce post-harvest loses in agricultural commodity, and disseminate the research outcome through partnering with States Agricultural Development Programmes that are in constant tough with the farmers.
Patricia Pessu said that during the event a number of 74 beneficiaries would benefit from the distribution of the modified storage drums while BSADP stakeholders would maintain six drums for demonstration purposes.
The BSADP Program Manager, Abubakar Jafaru Ilelah has earlier in a welcome address expressed gratitude to NSPRI for the provision of free modified storage drums to Bauchi farmers and marketers.
Ilelah assured that BSADP would disseminate the new research initiative of the institute for the benefit of teeming farmers and marketers of Bauchi state.
He said hermetic drums will reduce postharvest losses by ensuring quality, safety and availability of agricultural produce.
“The hermetic storage restricts gas exchanges between the internal and external environments and the stored commodity, maintaining the initial levels of moisture and controlling pests by the lack of oxygen, with the available oxygen in the internal ecosystem reduced to lethal or limiting the respiration of any living organism within the system.”
“You will all agree with me that post harvest losses has been a serious challenge to our farmers over the years and they tried locally to curtail or minimize the menace but to no avail, especially now that farmers volume is on the increase,” he said.