By Rabiu Sani-Ali
The Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), Ilorin has distributed storage facilities to 75 farmers’ cooperatives and groups in Bauchi State.
Dr Patricia Pessu, Executive Director of the Institute, presented the items to the beneficiaries on Saturday in Bauchi.
Pessu, represented by Dr Olaleye Oladimeji, NSPRI Coordinator, Kano Zonal Office, said the development would boost agriculture and add value to the produce.
She said that about 80 Hemertic Steel Drums would be distributed to the farmers to address post-harvest losses and enhance food safety.
The director said that the institute had introduced innovative technologies to enhance preservation, encourage productivity and achieve sustainable food security.
“The hermetic steel drum is an airtight technology developed by NSPRI for non-chemical preservation of dried crops products.
“These include grains, pulses, roots, tubers, fruits, vegetables and perishables,” she said.
Pessu said the Institute will set up a Parabolic Solar Tent Dryer I Bauchi, to encourage preservation of produce through application of hygienic methods.
The institute, she said, would continue to collaborate with the Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP) towards promoting application of modern tecnologies in agriculture.
In his remarks, Mr Jiduana Tula, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, commended the gesture, saying it would address post-harvest challenges being experienced by farmers in the state.
Tula, represented by Alhaji Yakubu Jibrin-Abdullahi, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said the state government in partnership with development organisations would continue to support farmers towards achieving positive development in the sector.
He said farmers were recording losses due to lack of modern presevation technologies and facilities, while food and other produce loose between 15 and 20 per cent of its value and quality.
While reiterating the government commitment towards addressing post -harvest challleges, Tula said the state would introduce viable programmes to fast track technology-driven agriculture.
“We are going to use local fabricators to produce more steel drums for distribution to the farmers,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Ja’afar Illelah, the Programme Manager, BSADP, said the new technology would address post-harvest losses and other challenges bedevilling farmers.
Illelah reiterated government commitment to reinvigorate agriculture through improved farmer support programmes and introduction of new technologies.
He urged the beneficiaries to ensure effective utilisation of the facilities and step down the training in their respective communities to promote good preservation practices.
“Grain and other produce can be store for a long period of time without application of chemical.
“It will reduce post-harvest losses, food poisoning and encourage good practices.” he said.
One of the beneficiaries, Hajiya Marka Abbas, lauded the gesture, adding that it would boost agricultural activities in the state.
Abbas pledged to ensure effective utilisation of the facilities to improve their productivity. (NAN)