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May 27, 2024
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“Build Food Storage Facilities in Strategic Areas to Reduce Post-Harvest Losses,” Nnadi Urges Enugu Govt

The Director-General, Nsukka Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Mr Uchenna Nnadi, has advised the government of Enugu state to build food preservation facilities at strategic areas of the state to reduce post-harvest losses.

Speaking during  an interview with the press, yesterday in Enugu, he maintained that Enugu State is with the largest arable land in the South-East and also the Eastern gateway to Northern Nigeria as well as the host of the highest concentration of aggregation hubs of agro-products in Southern Nigeria, therefore the state ed appropriate storage and transport logistics for agro-products.

He said it was regrettable that, like Nigeria, Enugu State had not “reasonably built up data gathering and analyzing capacity and capability”, adding that “we simply depend on the data that the Bretton Woods institutions and other foreign institutions supply us”.

He recalled a statement credited to the Executive Director, Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), Professor Olufemi Peters, that Nigeria loses more than $8.9bn (₦2.7tn) annually as a result of post-harvest food losses.

Nnadi said, “It is worse today given the worsening road network, and lack of functional extension services. Post-harvest food losses are like the death of children after weaning them of breast milk. Tackling post-harvest food losses is an emergency situation in Enugu State as in Nigeria where insecurity, outdated agro-inputs, methods and implements, and low yield per hectare are already fueling acute food shortage.

“Post-harvest food losses also transpose food export to food import, thus worsening Nigeria’s GDP, inflation and currency stability. In the latest ranking, Enugu State is the least in terms of GDP in Southeast Nigeria. This is unacceptable for a blessed gateway state.”

He suggested an integrated approach to the post-harvest food losses in Enugu State, noting that the approach involved identifying factor endowments across the state, carving them into clusters, and developing integrated development plans to optimize global value chains from these clusters.

According to him, “any agro-product will have its primary, secondary and tertiary value chains planned, designed and implemented across the areas of comparative advantage in the state. 

“It will also include building modern storage facilities with adequate ventilation, temperature control, and pest management; investing in processing and preservation technologies to extend shelf life and reduce spoilage; and developing and implementing policies that support post-harvest management, such as tax incentives for investors and subsidies for farmers.”

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