• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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FG is promoting public-private investments in cold-chain to tackle postharvest losses – Adebayo

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To tackle Nigeria’s huge post-harvest losses and attain food and nutrition security, the federal government says it is promoting public-private investment partnerships on cold-chain infrastructure.

Adeniyi Adebayo, minister for Industry, Trade, and Investment said this at the official opening of the 8th edition of the agro-food & plastprintpack trade show and conference held recently in Lagos in collaboration with the Organisation for Technology Advancement of Cold Chain in West Africa (OTACCWA).

Adebayo noted that the country suffers huge post-harvest losses annually in the production of fruits and vegetables which has continued to create a deficit in Nigeria’s food production.

He stated that Nigeria can only stabilize and drive growth in its agricultural sector when it adopts technologies and initiates effective policies to address post-harvest losses stifling food and nutrition security.

“To build a sustainable cold chain network in Nigeria, the federal government is investing heavily to close the energy gap and encouraging public-private investment partnerships to find lasting solutions to cold chain challenges,” he said.

Read also: Ecotutu to launch cold chain infrastructure to tackle post-harvest losses

“We are optimistic that if the public and private sector works together to uplift the cold chain industry to international standards, it will drive diversification of the economy, improve jobs and development and drive technological innovation in the overall interest of Nigeria and Africa,” he added.

He stated that agriculture is the most important sector in the Nigerian economy as it provides raw materials for manufacturers, employs 60 percent of the country’s workforce and contributes almost 30 percent to GDP, noting that any improvement in the agricultural value chain including the reduction of postharvest loss is fundamental.

Alexander Isong, president of the Organization for Technology Advancement of Cold Chain West Africa (OTACCWA) stated that cold chain is an industry that has seen very little penetration in Nigeria, therefore the country has been unable to enjoy the advantages it brings.

“It has a multiplier effect on the economy which helps a country in delivering goods and services that are healthy, certified and helps in storage and transportation of what it produces on its farm and safe transportation of pharmaceutical products to maintain their efficacy and potency,” he said.

According to him, the increasing need for the temperature to prevent food losses, trade liberalization and rising demand for perishable produce globally is driving the growth of the cold-chain market.

He stated that the cold chain market is valued at $ 233.8 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach 340.5 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 7 percent.

He noted that Nigeria can only achieve a self-sustaining standard of food production and attain food and nutrition security when it adequately invests in its cold chain sector to enable players to ramp up their production.

He added that if the country can effectively store and transport at farm gates and the entire food system which is currently estimated at 50 percent, Nigeria will be able to increase its food production by at least 45percent.

Speaking also, Weert Borner, consul general of Germany said Germany regards food security as one of its clear priorities both locally and internationally, adding that his country is currently doing a lot in global agricultural research and partnering with Nigerian universities on it.

“The task for all of us is to modernize agriculture,” Borner said while urging Nigeria to pay more attention to agro-processing to increase its export revenue and infrastructure to store them until they are needed.

While commenting on the impact of the international trade show and conference, Paul März, managing director at Fairtrade Messe said it has gathered global technology leaders from across 17 countries to showcase their technologies and solutions for Nigerian and West African markets in agriculture, food, beverage processing, ingredients, plastics, printing, and packaging.

He said Nigeria became the largest investor in food and packaging technology in Africa with an investment of €346 million in 2021.