Tackling post-harvest losses will increase nation’s GDP, says NIRSAL

Abuja, Feb. 11, 2018 (TNE) The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), says that effective management of post-harvest losses will increase agriculture’s contribution to the country’s Growth Domestic Product (GDP) by nine per cent.

Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, Managing Director of NIRSAL, said this in Abuja on Sunday while signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a German agricultural technology and processing company, RIELA GNA.

Abdulhameed, who said that post-harvest handling value chain is not receiving the desired attention, expressed optimism that the country will easily achieve self sufficiency in food production and export if the losses were reduced drastically.

He quoted the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), as saying that the country’s value of post-harvest losses have hit US$ 9 billion.

This, according to the managing director, represented 15 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as at the third quarter of 2017.

‘‘The amount of money we are losing as a country on an annual basis is over 35 per cent of our annual national budget.

‘‘On the average, post-harvest losses in Nigeria are estimated to be about 50 per cent of food produced with specific commodities recording much higher rates.

‘‘Up to 60 per cent for plantain and 70 per cent for tomatoes and other fresh fruits and vegetables are lost after production.

‘‘The World Bank reports show that Nigeria’s average losses is higher than other sub-Saharan African countries and global post-harvest loss average of 37 and 32 per cent respectively.

The managing director said the MoU signing is to partner with RIELA, to provide increased access to harvest and post-harvest technology equipment.

Abdulhameed said the partnership will also help farmers at the primary production level with technology, training, machinery and technical assistance.

He said that organisation is operating a mechanisation financing framework whereby the equipment supplier will supply, maintain and provide after sales services and banks will finance while NIRSAL will serve as guarantors to the project.

‘‘We don’t expect a farmer to go and buy equipment which he does not know the technology and how to operate it; it is an impossible thing to do.

‘‘You cannot tell the farmer to bring out money from his pocket rather, this system makes sure that cooperatives driven by young people operate those machines as service providers and sell the services to farmers.

‘‘So you don’t expect the farmer to have the equipment but you expect businesses driven by youths to be able to acquire those machines that will be guaranteed by NIRSAL.

‘‘As you are all aware, we are clearly not where we should be in terms of agricultural development; therefore, we cannot afford the luxury of moving at a gradual pace.

‘‘We need a leapfrogging strategy to catch up and sprint to our natural position as a leader in agriculture, not only in Africa but in the world,’’ the managing director said.

The Managing Director of REILA, Prof. Karl-Heinz Knoop, said the company is in Nigeria to make agribusiness viable to ensure that harvested agriculture produce are properly packaged and stored.

RIELA Projects GNA Limited is a leading German agricultural processing and technology company that provides complete value chain solutions.

NIRSAL was incorporated in 2013 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to improve lending to agriculture by addressing the underlying reasons why banks do not lend to the sector.

(TNE)

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