29 November 2012

Nigeria: Food Security - Firm Moves Against Post-Harvest Losses

Stallion Motors Limited Wednesday moved to reduce post-harvest losses associated with agricultural products as it unveiled a scheme that would enable it distribute 316 pick-up vans for the sector.

Each truck, which, according to the Brand Manager of the Company, Mr. Prashant Sinha, is valued at N2.28 million, would be given to farmers at a discounted price of 40 per cent.

Sinha spoke in Abuja at the official project launch of the programme which was attended by major stakeholders in the agriculture sector from both the public and private sectors.

He said the move was part of efforts aimed at assisting the Federal Government to achieve its agriculture transformation agenda.

Part of the agriculture transformation agenda is to add 20 million metric tonnes of food to domestic food supply by 2015 as well as increase the contribution of the sector to Gross Domestic Product.

Sinha said apart from helping young farmers embrace mechanisation, the scheme which would help change the face of agri-business.

For instance, he said that findings revealed about 70 per cent of what farmers produced were usually lost between the farmlands and the market owing to lack of good transportation system.

He, however, expressed optimism that with the new initiative, the anomaly would be corrected.

He said: "This promises to change the fortunes of farmers and improve the way they farm and chart a new horizon in agro business in Nigeria.

"There is no gainsaying that the surest way to transform a nation is to first help it become sufficient in food production.

"We need to move a little faster to catch up with modern agriculture and if we must make agro business attractive especially to younger generation, we must constantly improve the way we farm and embrace mechanisation."

Also speaking at the event, the Executive Director, Admiral Environmental Care Limited, Mr. Shedrack Madlion, said with the huge loss of crops as a result of the flooding, all efforts should now be geared towards minimising post harvest losses.

The floods which destroyed lives and property also left so many people displaced.

An estimate of the damage from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that Anambra which lost 39 per cent of its cultivated land was the worst affected state.

Kogi followed with 28.8 per cent, while Bayelsa 18.5 per cent, Taraba 14.2 per cent, Edo 11.1 per cent and Adamawa 10.3 per cent followed respectively in that order.

Others are Delta 8.9 per cent, Nasarawa 6.8 per cent, Niger 5.4 per cent, Benue 4.9 per cent and Kebbi 1.5 per cent

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