Following a recent study, ActionAid Nigeria, has recorded an estimated annual loss of N3.5 trillion due to post-harvest losses across the nation, with each of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory losing an estimated N94.5 billion annually.
This amount surpasses the yearly budgetary allocations for agriculture in each state and poses a serious threat to the country’s food and nutrition security.
The organization emphasized that the N3.5 trillion loss equates to a 50% reduction in production, resulting in a corresponding 50% income loss for smallholder farmers who are already facing numerous challenges.
ActionAid Nigeria, in collaboration with the Small-Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) and the CAADP Non-State Actors Group (CNG) on Post-Harvest Losses Reduction, expressed concern over the adverse effects of post-harvest losses on food security and called for urgent intervention.
At a press conference in Abuja focused on reducing post-harvest losses, stakeholders stressed the need for immediate action to achieve food and nutrition security in Nigeria.
The event was attended by representatives from the Small-Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) and the CAADP Non-State Actors Group (CNG).
The press release read by SWOFON representatives Wakilat Oneji and Ogedengbe Elizabeth, alongside Rasaq Fatai, Policy Advisor Manager for One Campaign, recorded that according to statistics, “only 26% of Smallholder Women Farmers have access to processing facilities, and a mere 18% have access to storage facilities. Additionally, transportation, markets, and training opportunities to mitigate post-harvest losses are accessible to just 10%, 21%, and 39%, respectively.”
The groups further stressed the need for a shift in agricultural approaches and rural infrastructure development, advocating for deliberate investments in the agriculture sector.
They stressed that with the Declaration of State of Emergency by President Bola Tinubu, one of the quick wins for food and nutrition security is for the government to focus on reducing post-harvest losses.
The women farmers said, “Post-harvest losses are one of the foremost challenges faced by smallholder farmers, especially women in communities in Nigeria. It devastates our efforts and incomes, leaving us poorer and continues to hinder Nigeria’s food and nutrition security.”
They called on the federal and state governors to prioritize the reduction of post-harvest losses, as it is a crucial aspect of achieving food and nutrition security.
The groups maintained that the small cottage processing and storage facilities in communities, focused on various commodities, should be an effective approach to reducing post-harvest losses, especially in remote areas as the larger Staple Crops Agro Processing Zones (SCPZ) will not serve them.