By Daniel Essiet
The Executive Director, Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), Dr Patricia Pessu, said the institute is working on technologies to reduce continued inadequacy in storage, processing facilities and wastage in tomatoes value chain, costing Nigeria about $15 billion post-harvest losses yearly.
In addition, the institute wants to partner farmers and agro-based companies to reduce $400 million spend annually on pesticides.
She said challenges affecting the agriculture value chain need a holistic effort to address post-harvest losses in the country.
Speaking on an online webinar, Mrs Pessu said the institute has developed safe, effective storage technologies that could be used to store crops.
She said NSPRI has commenced the use of hermetic steel drums for the storage of dried durable products.
The hermetic steel drums which were sourced from the first and only UN certified steel drum factory in Nigeria, Pacegate Limited – a subsidiary of Hana Group and Manufacturer of steel drums, have been built tested and certified to carry agricultural produce with no leakages. In addition, the drums are environmentally friendly and have been incorporated with anti-rust and coated with food grade lacquer which protects it from rust and enhances food safety.
She said “Postharvest value chain is important in ensuring food safety and security in Nigeria, especially with respect to properly dried staple agricultural commodities. Preservation of these commodities (grains, dried products from yam, cassava, potatoes, fruits, vegetables, fishery, meat, etc.) from season of surplus using appropriate and safe storage practice will benefit all actors along the value chain (farmers, processors, marketers, traders, transporters, consumers) in terms of monetary, health and protect agricultural economic values of the country.”
“One of the technologies developed and popularized by NSPRI for non-chemical preservation and safe handling of these durable products is the NSPRI Hermetic Steel Drum produced by Pacegate Limited,” Dr Pessu added.