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Nigeria loses 50% farm gate value of produce to pest annually

Nigerian farmers lose 50% farm gate value of produce to pest annually

The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service has disclosed plans to establish plant health clinics across the six geopolitical zones to address farm losses as well as boost farm produce.

Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development speaking during a press conference to mark the 2021 International day of plant health on Monday, said that plant health threats undermine national food security and increase the vulnerability of livelihoods dependent on crop value chains.

According to the Minister, Nigeria loses 50 percent of its annual farm gate value to damages caused by pests.

He said, “We must take plant health seriously because plants are in constant danger of attack by viruses, bacteria, nematodes, insects, aphids, and fungi.

“These plant health threats undermine food security and increase the vulnerability of livelihoods dependent on crop value chains. In Nigeria, we lose 50 percent of our annual farm gate value to the damages of pests. They cause yield and quality losses, reduce food availability, and increase food prices.”

He noted that a major challenge in plant health is the uncontrolled use of plant protection products including sniper and other lethal chemicals.

Read also: Take pride in rice farming, Anambra farmer urges youths

Incorrect, inappropriate, and abusive application of pesticides and herbicides can imperil human and animal health and the environment. The World Trade Organization (WTO) categorizes these plant contaminants and pests as impediments to trade.

The director-general, NAQS, Vincent Isegbe in his remark noted that promoting healthy plants boost the confidence of trading partners in the quality and safety of plants and plant products being exported.

According to him, the exportation of substandard agricultural produce has gained headway in recent times due to compromises between security officers and airline officials at the point of clearance.

“We have discovered that at the point of goods clearance, there are compromises between security officers and airline officials that permit packaging of products that are are not supposed to be exported. So when they are detected, it renders both the good agricultural produce unfit.

“Also, there are people that forge certificates to export their produce. We encourage exporters to do things right to avoid rejection.

The DG speaking further, stressed the need for farmers to add value to produce before they are sold out.

“Other countries make so many monies from value addition activities, and we can make huge foreign exchange too from what we see as common produce,” he said.