FG Vows to End Food Insecurity, Begins Distribution of Improved Food Storage Facilities to 19 States

Hammed Shittu

The federal government has commenced distribution of improved food storage facilities to farmers in the 19 states of the federation so as to ensure food security for Nigerians.

The facilities distributed in the first phase include 1,000 iced-fish boxes, 600 NSPRI hermetic steel drums, 120 NSPRI smoking kiln and 18 parabolic solar dryers.

Speaking at the flag off of the distributions of the improved food storage facilities for farmers, vulnerable women and youths at the the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), Ilorin, Kwara state capital, the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe said that, the development would go along way of improving food production and productivity that would boost the socio economic growth of the populace.

He said the federal government has identified poor post- harvest management system among farmers as the major factor that impeded the growth of agricultural development in the country.

According to him, “Post-harvest looses is one of the major problems of the Nigerian agricultural sector as food looses due to the poor-harvest technologies have potential affects on food security and nutrition and these causes shortage of food supply, availability, access and utilization.”

He said that, ‘Access to improved storage systems and technology is a perfect strategy in reducing food looses both at the harvest, home and market.”

Represented at the event by the director, external services of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Frank Kuala, the permanent secretary added that, “the quest for enhanced food security in Nigeria is the major target of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and it is continually making efforts in the areas of skills development and empowerment of Nigerian farmers to improve production and productivity”.

He said that, “it is due to this stand that the ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development directed the board and management of NSPRI to key into the vision of the Federal Government driven by the ministry so as to make food production abundant for all and sundry in the country.”

Umakhihe added that, “the ministry is very impressed with the array of Innovations which NSPRI continues to introduce to the agricultural sector on a regular basis. These Innovations not only contribute to enhancing food security but also generate an economic multiplier effect that translates to economic growth and development of the country.

“The efforts of NSPRI towards alleviating the pains and conditions of vulnerable women and young people in our society is a testimony of your commitments to the pursuits of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda for economic diversification through the agricultural sector. The distribution of these facilities to vulnerable women and youths as incentivr to improve their productivity and livelihood is worthy of emulation by other institutions.”

Also speaking during the event meant to popularize the programme in Ilorin, the executive director of the NSPRI, Dr. Patricia Pessu, said that the institute is committed to improve food storage for a happier nation.

She said, “We recognize that women in rural areas across Nigeria play an increasingly pivotal role in agricultural production as well as post-harvest activities. Estimates of involvement of women across the agricultural value chain range between 20 per cent to 70 per cent. So, with more support and encouragement, these hardworking women can deliver more economic value to our country, while helping to drive the government’s food security agenda.”

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