BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

How post-harvest losses denying Nigeria gains of food production

...most beneficiaries of anchor borrowers’ loan not farmers - AFAN

The Feed Nigeria Summit Group has raised concerns about the amount of food being lost in the post-harvest season, resulting in the inability of Nigerian farmers to meet local demands.

Speaking at a pre-summit meeting with the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Abuja, Richard Mbaram, director-general of the Feed Nigeria Summit Group noted that post-harvest losses have remained the most unfortunate experience for Nigeria farmers, as the country loses over 50 percent of food at post-harvest.

He said it has, therefore, become imperative for Nigeria to leverage industrialisation to curb post-harvest losses.

”Post-harvest has remained the most unfortunate experience for our farmers and we must seek ways to solve it as we record shortfalls in our production. We are unable to meet demands due to these losses.

”The recent floods ravaged farmsteads across the country. Having lost so much, there will be implications on food availability, price and food security. With 133 million poor people in Nigeria as disclosed by the government, we are in a serious crisis,” he said.

He explained that the Feed Nigeria summit, which is slated to hold from December 12 to 13, 2023, recognises that the country is open to existential challenges, including insecurity which must be addressed urgently.

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”The first place in addressing poverty is to provide food and make it available for everyone.

Speaking on the impending food crisis, Mbaram said there’s need for all stakeholders to be on deck, ”to make sure we do not end up with wishful thinking regarding the food crisis.’

The national secretary of AFAN, Yunusa Yabwa, said that the summit was an annual event aimed at improving food production to meet the demand of citizens and for export.

Commenting on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrower programme, Yabwa said, ”The anchor borrower is a laudable programme, but there are challenges of recovery.

Some of our members benefited from the programme, but most people that benefited from it are not farmers.

”CBN, NIRSAL that disbursed this loan are unable to recover the loan because they cannot trace the debtors, which unfortunately are not farmers. Many collected the loans in the name of farmers. The banks were only focused on disbursing the funds, so they were not bothered about who got the funds.

Speaking further, he noted that efforts were ongoing to compensate farmers affected by floods, while empowering them to engage in dry season farming.