NIGERIA – Nigeria grapples with a staggering annual loss of N3.5 trillion (USD 4.42 billion) in agricultural produce post-harvest, despite the government’s efforts to bolster food sustainability policies and programs.

Dr. Godwin Atser, Country Director of Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA), highlighted this alarming trend during an inspection of post-harvest technology interventions at the Kano State Agro-Pastoral Development (KSADP/SAA) media field day in Kano.

Dr. Atser stressed that while Nigeria has made strides in food production, an alarming percentage of the harvest goes to waste due to the lack of preservative technologies. He emphasized the urgency of addressing this issue to safeguard the country’s food security.

“We all know that post-harvest losses are a significant issue in Nigeria and Africa in general. About N3.5 trillion is lost annually, undermining food security efforts,” he said. “While we focus on production, we must address what happens afterward.”

The SAA director led a team of journalists to a local fabricating workshop, part of the KSADP/SAA intervention, where local fabricators are being trained to create sustainable technology solutions.

This initiative aims to equip local fabricators with skills and tools to construct post-harvest machines, reducing agricultural waste.

Highlighting the project’s significance, Dr. Atser remarked, “This capacity-building initiative for local fabricators producing equipment to preserve farm produce is crucial.”

“It promotes a value chain approach, reduces reliance on costly imported technology, and enhances local content capacity.”

The program’s impact was evident as Abubakar Umar, one of the beneficiaries, expressed gratitude for the training that empowered him to engage 15 youths in meaningful work and training opportunities.

State-level impact

In another research by ActionAid Nigeria, it was revealed that each state, including the Federal Capital Territory, suffers an estimated N94.5 billion (USD 119.35 million) yearly in post-harvest losses.

This staggering amount, if divided across the states and the FCT, highlights the severe economic impact of agricultural wastage.

ActionAid Nigeria emphasized the need for urgent measures to address these losses, pointing out that they exceed individual state agriculture budgets.

The organization, in collaboration with the Small-Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) and the CAADP Non-State Actors Group (CNG), underscored the critical need to combat post-harvest losses.

With limited access to processing, storage, transportation, markets, and training facilities, smallholder women farmers face significant hurdles in reducing agricultural waste.

The organizations called upon the government, highlighting the urgency of reducing post-harvest losses as a crucial step toward achieving food and nutrition security in Nigeria.

Smallholder farmers, particularly women, emphasized how these losses undermine their efforts and income, severely impacting the nation’s food security goals.

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