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April 14, 2024
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Nigeria Needs Technology to Improve Food Security — Agro-Industry Expert

Mrs. Onyinyechi Onyembi, an agro-industry expert and Managing Director of Daa Rhoda Foods, has said that technology is pivotal for ensuring food security in Nigeria. 

She emphasized that incorporating technology into food processing and packaging is a key factor in transforming farm produce into export-worthy goods. 

Onyembi, speaking to the press, noted that adopting this approach would save time, reduce costs, and ultimately enhance productivity to meet the growing demand for food products.

The agro-industry expert, while noting that high-tech processing and packaging were emerging as key tools to improve agriculture in Nigeria, added that the approach had already been embraced by her venture by transforming “farm products from their earth form into ready-to-use products.”

“For us at Daa Rhoda Foods, we use the right technologies to add value to farm products through processing, and we transform farm products from their earthly form into ready-to-use products.

“Our products are uniquely processed and packaged to meet international standards, and this has made it possible for us to significantly break through in the international market, thereby promoting export diversification and international trade opportunities for Nigeria.

“As a food and beverage manufacturing firm, we are determined to push Nigerian indigenous soup condiments into the international market. We process and package dried ground food produce, such as egusi, ogbono, crayfish, prawns, and pepper,” Onyembi stated.

Onyembi, elucidating her firm’s contribution to reversing Nigeria’s negative food import trend through revitalizing the agro-processing and packaging sectors, emphasized the crucial role of employing the right tools and deploying trained personnel.

 She underscored that the use of appropriate equipment and skilled labor not only boosts productivity but also lowers production costs while maintaining high-quality standards.

 Onyembi urged both the federal government and private investors to channel investments into these sectors, focusing on acquiring modern equipment and establishing robust infrastructure.

“The Nigerian government and private investors should invest in the agro-processing and packaging sectors, which should be geared towards the purchase of modern equipment and adequate infrastructure.

“The Nigerian government and private investors should invest in the agro-processing and packaging sectors, which should be geared towards the purchase of modern equipment and adequate infrastructure.

“Machines are much faster and guarantee increased productivity and minimal production costs. It is pertinent to facilitate access to capital, build the capacity of agro-businesses, and position agro-processors for efficient food output delivery,” she said.

The CEO of Daa Rhoda Foods suggested enhancing agricultural curricula in Nigerian universities to address industry skill gaps, aligning food standards with international benchmarks, and supporting processors in obtaining global certifications.

 Regarding challenges in agro-processing and packaging, she highlighted issues like inadequate infrastructure, poor road networks, electricity, and water supply, which increase costs and hinder productivity. 

Additionally, she mentioned obstacles such as limited financing, high-interest rates, stringent collateral requirements limiting credit access for processors, low technology adoption, and inefficient equipment affecting quality and safety.

“Again, we contend with inconsistent raw material supply; seasonal glut and scarcity of inputs, like fruits, undermine processors. Not forgetting poor skilled labour, as few food technologists and engineers lead to low efficiency and poor innovation,” she said.

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