The Minister of State for Agriculture, Sen. Heineken Lopkobiri has said that the Federal Government would save $8billion through new storage technologies developed by the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute, Illorin (NSPRI). This is contained in a statement signed by the Deputy Director, Information in the ministry, Mrs Blessing Lere-Adams in Abuja.
The statement quoted Lokpobiri to have made the statement while receiving a team of researchers from the institute lead by Executive Director, Prof. Peters Olufemi in Abuja. Lokpobiri said that the institute had been able to fabricate and develop technologies that would reduce storage problems of all food crops in the country. He said the development would aid Nigeria’s target of self sufficiency in food production through reduction in post harvest losses. The minister said the initiative would also ensure that agricultural produce will be kept within the food supply chain.
Lopkobiri recalled that findings from 2013 Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) factsheets and NSPRI survey conducted in all geo-political zones, estimated food losses to be 51.3 tonnes across all crops; valued at $8.9 billion dollars. The minister said that the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has achieved increased food production and was addressing post harvest losses along all the value chains.
He said the initiative was a sure path to food security for the country and would enhance exportation of agricultural produce which will boost foreign exchange reserve. Lokpobiri assured the teams of Government’s support to strengthen the institute with necessary funding to enable them perform their mandate which included development of post harvest technologies for farmers and cottage industries.
Earlier, Olufemi said the management of the institute was repositioning the institute to play a critical role in the country’s quest for food security, earn foreign exchange and boost the economy. Olufemi also stated that the institute will continue to develop appropriate post harvest technologies for farmers, agro-allied industries and other relevant stakeholders. He said the institute also carried out research into the improvement and maintenance of qualities of all crops including fisheries and livestock.