HARVEST: Women with baskets of tomatoes harvested from farmlands provided under the Restoring Agricultural Assets of IDPs, Returnees and Vulnerable Host Families in NorthEast Nigeria project, put together by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations; the UN Central Emergency Response Fund and the governments of Ireland, Japan and Belgium.
Says govt, stakeholders need to synergise to tackle menace
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As farmers continue to suffer huge losses due to various challenges, the Chief Executive Officer, SWEER Global Farms, Dr Thaddaeus Thompson, Sunday expressed concern over post-harvest losses in the agricultural sector.
Thompson stated this in a chat with Vanguard while speaking on flood occasioned by rain and not properly challenged waterways and also poor technology in the sector that have contributed to post-harvest losses experienced by farmers over the years.
He also pointed out that the persistent food losses in the country is not healthy for the nation’s food system, which have also frustrated farmers along various value chains.
He said: “Farmers in agribusiness in Nigeria are trying and making great impact to feed the nation, and this is highly commendable because the strength of a nation lies in good nutrition and food availability.
“These farmers have been trying to ensure there is food despite the security challenges in their various states, and they are not deterred to give their best in food production.
“However, my concern as a stakeholder and investor in the Nigerian agricultural sector is the protracted issue of post-harvest losses.
“The issue of post-harvest losses has stunted the effort of farmers, especially those who are smallholder farmers. Annually their harvest has been a waste so to speak because they lack access to facilities whereby they can safeguard their farm produce.
“Right now as I speak with you, farmers in the Niger Delta region are counting their losses due to heavy flooding that has affected various farm including livestock.
“They are really suffering to get their farm produce out and as a result some have lost huge hectares of their farms to flood.”
However, he (Thompson) called on government at all levels and stakeholders to synergise to see how they could tackle post-harvest losses in the sector.
“I want to mention that we still lack technology that would have protected and preserved farm produce, and this is really a big challenge.
“We as stakeholders, investors, development partners and government at all levels should synergise to tackle and drastically reduce these losses”, he said.
He further stated that there is already a move to proffer a solution to the issue of post-harvest losses, “We at SWEER Global Farm, located at Amassoma, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, are on this matter because we are also affected by this menace called post-harvest losses.
“And we are also trying to collaborate with companies that have the technology to prevent post-harvest losses, and we will like other stakeholders to do same.”