About forty rural farmers in Ilorin East/Ilorin South federal constituency will today, Friday, September 4, 2020 conclude a week-long training on pilot post seasonal intervention program at the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute.
The training program which is facilitated by the member representing Ilorin-East/Ilorin-South Federal Constituency, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Cook-Olododo was organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute facilitated.
Declaring the training open, the facilitator, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Cook-Olododo who said the present administration is committed to diversifying the economic to the non-oil sector stressed that agriculture is playing the leading role in this strategic intervention by the government of the day.
He reasoned that one of the strategies to increasing food production is to empower rural farmers with skills in modern ways so as to make them able to fully utilize the enormous opportunities that abound in the agriculture sector.
The lawmaker pointed out that his little way towards achieving this is the construction of eight Solar Dryers. He disclosed that each of the Federal constituencies will get four each so as to ease the way farmers dry their farm produce.
He further stressed that increasing agricultural production and post-harvest management would be targeted for poverty alleviation, job creation, food security and improved livelihood.
Cook-Olododo noted that one of the failures of agricultural policies for addressing developmental challenges in developing countries particularly Nigeria is the lopsidedness of concentrating efforts on production at the expense of postharvest activities.
He concluded that, “If Agriculture is to be used for the development of the state, effective postharvest management and value addition must be put in place to complement the agricultural production activities. This way, agriculture will have direct bearing on the economic viability of the zone and be beneficial to the nation.”
In her opening remarks, the Executive Director, Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute, Dr Patricia Pessu who noted that postharvest losses vary according to the crops involved thanked the lawmaker for facilitating the program.
Dr. Pessu further disclosed that over the years, a lot of efforts have been put in place by government and other non-governmental agencies towards increased production said the issue of storage have always been given a lower attention.
She revealed that as a government agency the institute have many technologies developed for storage and preservations. She stressed that the mandate of NSPRI is to ensure improved food storage, post-harvest processing on perishable crops, storage facilities for dry product and also impact on the livelihood of the people by improving their economic wellbeing.
The ED therefore urged the participants to make good use of the opportunity accorded them.
Earlier, the principal consultant of Synergy Impact Consultant Limited, represented by Mr. Lanre Babalola said the training programme is to broaden the skills and knowledge of the selected participants in the area of postharvest management with concentration on the use of solar dryer tent to ensure food hygiene and prevention of post-harvest loss.
He said, “it is no doubt that, production of food crops in Nigeria has increased due to the recent advocacy for the diversification of the economy, but a high percentage is lost due to lack of proper postharvest management especially in the areas of drying and storage components required to guarantee food security.
Babalola therefore called for conscientious effort to be employed to ensure that wastage that usually result from the lack of in-depth knowledge and simple adherence to the basic of good agricultural practices are avoided.
He emphasized that the beneficiaries of this programme should do everything possible to sustain the knowledge acquired during the training to be of benefit to the society.
The high point of the program was the commissioning of one of the solar dryers located at Iponrin community.
The program was well attended by government appointees, political associates and well-wishers of the lawmaker.