Post-harvest losses may have been dropping in the African nation of Nigeria in the past year, but farmers are still uncomfortable with the state of infrastructure that supports farming activities.
Many farmers and fruit sellers in Nigeria believe that the bulk of the losses they incur, even after harvesting and selling their crops, is caused by the country’s widening infrastructural deficit. According to some of the farmers, while post-harvest losses had reduced considerably in the last one year, the cost of some agricultural produce increased significantly due to lack of adequate infrastructure and storage facilities.
The All Farmers Association of Nigeria, in an interview with punchng.com, noted that although post-harvest losses had reduced, farmers still had to contend with the challenge of moving their agricultural produce from the hinterland, where they are harvested, to the urban areas where they are sold.
Also fruit sellers interviewed at the Maitama, Kubwa and Wuse markets in the Federal Capital Territory complained of inadequate storage facilities to preserve their fruits and vegetables.
They, however, stated that traders in fruits, such as pineapples, pear, oranges, water melon and carrots, etc, had devised a means to stay afloat by not acquiring more than they could sell at a given point in time. But the Federal Government, through its Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Agency, stated that it had been supporting farmers in terms of crop preservation and storage, which helped to reduce post-harvest losses.
The Chairman of the AFAN, Lagos Branch, Femi Oke, told the correspondent that while the closure of Nigeria’s land borders had impacted positively on farming, it was still vital for the government to make the required infrastructure available to further boost production.
“Post-harvest losses have been very minimal in the past one year. For instance, many farmers who grow perishable crops, such as tomato and pepper, no longer use baskets to harvest them. They now use plastic items and the likes and this has helped to reduce the post-harvest losses. But I must say that transporting these products to where they are sold has posed a serious challenge to farmers. This means the cost of some agricultural produce is on the high side.”