The Postharvest Loss Alliance for Nutrition (PLAN) Nigeria has joined the Lagos State Ministry of Agricultureâ€™sÂ Market Storm campaign to promote the adoption of returnable plastic crates for handling fresh fruits and vegetables held this month at the Owodunni market in Ikorodu.
This followed PLANâ€™s workshop to explore the models and incentives for lending, leasing and owning crates for handling fresh fruits and vegetables Â in Nigeria, and developing a viable business case for returnable plastic crates.
PLAN is supporting this exercise which is scheduled to take place in 18 major markets in Lagos state.
The campaign anytime from now, would move to Agege, Oyingbo, Onitire and the new produce markets at Imota any time soon.
According to PLAN, â€œthis is a laudable initiative by the Lagos State government as it will improve the delivery of these nutritious foods qualitatively and economically.
Â â€œIn Nigeria, a lot of emphasis has been placed over the years on increasing food production through improved agronomic practices. To a very large extent, this has yielded significant results.
â€œUnfortunately, there has been little attention to postharvest handling; hence a lot of perishable farm produce still goes to waste leading to loss of value and revenue to the farmer.
â€œConsequently, more land has to be cultivated to meet demand, which can lead to deforestation.
â€œThis is a threat to improving nutrition and food security. Postharvest loss and waste (PHL/W) of horticultural products is a major problem in Nigeria caused by a wide variety of factors, ranging from poor production planning, inadequate transport, lack of proper crating, lack of cool/cold storage technologies and lack of proper handling education at the retail level.
Â â€œNot only are losses clearly a waste of food, but they also represent a waste of economic, human and environmental resources like farm inputs, financial investments, water and land.â€