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April 17, 2024

NSPRI Trains Farmers on Nanotechnology to Tackle Postharvest Losses

Highlighting nanotechnology’s transformative potential in tackling postharvest losses, Professor Lateef Sanni, Executive Director of the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), during a training on the technology emphasized its unique ability to deliver unparalleled precision and efficiency, surpassing conventional approaches.

He reiterated this during a three-day training programme held recently for 70 farmers from Akpabuyo local government area in Cross River state, who were trained on the use of nanotechnology to mitigate postharvest losses in grains, tubers and vegetables and  support the global push for food security. 

Sanni who was represented by the Assistant Director (Research), Dr. Eunice Bamishaiye, at the event said that the workshop aimed to introduce participants to nanotechnology solutions that have the potential to revolutionize the way farmers handle and preserve agricultural produce.

“Our aim is to empower farmers and stakeholders with the knowledge and tools needed to harness the benefits of nanotechnology, ultimately contributing to sustainable agriculture and food security”. He said. 

Expressing the institute’s commitment to fostering innovation and advancing agricultural practices through cutting-edge technologies, he noted that the three-day training showed NSPRI’s commitment to sustainable agricultural practices. 

Speaking further, he stated that by incorporating nanotechnology into postharvest management, the institute envisions a future where farmers can minimize losses, improve the quality of their produce, and contribute to economic growth.

The Executive Director of NSPRI, also harped on some of the persistent challenges faced by the agricultural sector, particularly in postharvest management. 

According to him, losses due to spoilage, pests, and inadequate storage facilities have been long standing issues, impacting farmers’ livelihoods and contributing to food insecurity. 

Speaking on the mandate of NSPRI, NSPRI boss said the Institute is tasked with reducing post harvest losses by ensuring the quality, safety and availability of agricultural produce in the country.

He noted that post-harvest loss accounts for one-third of the waste of agricultural produce every year and that a lot of money and resources have been invested and expended in boosting agricultural production in Nigeria, “but at the end of the day many of the agricultural commodities are lost during postharvest management. 

In his words: “According to the Action Aid Report 2021, Nigeria’s post-harvest loss increased to about N3.5trn annually. 40% – 50% losses is recorded in fruits and vegetables alone during post harvest due to improper packaging, transportation and storage. This has made Nigeria to rely more on importation of agricultural produce from foreign countries,” he said.

Declaring open the training session, the facilitator of the training and member representing Akpabuyo,  Bakassi and Calabar South, Federal Constituency in Cross River State at the National Assembly, Rt. Hon. Joseph Bassey said the training was put in place at the right time to address post harvest losses, boost agricultural production and move Nigeria forward to be a better place for people to invest in the agricultural sector.

Hon Bassey, who is also the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, assured that the three-day training program will expose the 70 farmers from Akpabuyo LGA to technologies and practical ways to mitigate post harvest losses in grains, roots and tuber crops, and fruits and vegetables.

He stated that the Calabar agro-ecological zone is predominantly known for cassava, oil palm, banana, plantain, rice, yam, maize, melon, pumpkin, pepper production. 

He, therefore, revealed that adequate storage and post harvest management of these crops would increase the internally generated revenue of Cross River State and also boost the GDP of the country.

He urged participants to step down the skills and knowledge acquired to other farmers.

It was reported that the three-day training had in attendance experts who exposed participants to the fundamentals of nanotechnology and its diverse applications in agriculture.

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