Nigeria’s farmers are steadily counting so much loses as onions farmers in particular are plagued with significant post harvest loss.
Nigeria’s onions adjudged to be the best in world is significantly wasted due to lack of storage infrastructure costing the country several million of foreign exchange if the product is adequately stored and exported.
The Emir of Gummi and chairman, Coordinating Committee, Northern Traditional Ruler Council, Alhaji Lawal Hassan in his goodwill remarks at the opening of a 2 day Agri-Food Investment forum in Lagos sadly recalled that every year peasant farmers cultivate crops but experience has shown that the efforts yields no positive results as significant harvests are lost and wasted as a result of inadequate support Infrastructure.
Hassan, said the farmers are challenged by absence of preservation facilities and as such record high post harvest losses.
According to him, Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara produces the highest quality and volume of onions by research has shown that 70 percent of the harvest is lost because there are no preservation facilities, and all around markets in these areas produce unacceptable stench from rotten onions which is not healthy and highly unacceptable.
The royal father said however, that the forum presents a great opportunity for companies seeking local partnerships as the states involved are looking for firms with the technology to preserve the onions.
“We are currently looking for companies that will partner with us to accomplish this purpose because our intention is to see how to preserve onions for one year and still sell them as fresh as if they have been harvested”, he added.
In his remarks, the royal father of the occasion, His Majesty, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos expressed concern about the plight of Nigerian farmers.
Akiolu though commended the present administration for making significant investment in the sector but said post harvest loss should be a source of worry for government and advised that efforts should be made to provide the needed infrastructure support to help stabilize the sector.
According to him, the report that the yams exported to Europe recently were discovered to have rottened on getting to its final destination calls for concerted efforts to deal with the challenges.
He commended YOTSI for bringing youths to embrace agriculture adding that the southwest is willing to provide access to land for the project. “From Lagos to the Ibandan stretch we can guarantee 50,000 acres of land for agriculture projects but security of life and property is key to making the projects viable”, he observed.
Women Farmers Seeks Access To Finance, Laments Neglect
Women farmers in Nigeria have challenged government over seeming discrimination against them in allocation of resources to promote their participation in boosting agriculture business in the country.
Among the concerns raised include, lack of access to agricultural loans and grants as well as lack of access to land ownership.
At an agriculture forum in Lagos, national president of National Council of Women Societies, NCWS, Gloria Laraba Shoda observed that despite huge support and significant participation and contributions of women in the sector, little attention is paid to their plight.
Shoda, while raising the concern recalled figures provided by the federal ministry of agriculture which revealed that Nigerian women are responsible for 70 per cent of agriculture labor, 50 per cent of animal husbandry related activities and 60 per cent of food processing but unfortunately have access to less than 20 per cent of available agricultural resources and facilities.
In her paper titled, “Nigerian Women In Agricultural Development: Participation and Empowerment In A Practicing Democracy” the president noted that the role of women in agriculture is no longer a myth, but expressed regrets that past patterns of data collection did not properly recognize women’s labor on the field and in the domestic environment.
“Women’s labor was deemed as family contributions, as a farmers wife and assigned a zero valuation leading to dire consequences on policies on agricultural production because they were invisible and voiceless as far as influencing agricultural policies.
“These policies which are aimed at increasing food security and food production are largely unsuccessful because they do not take into account the critical role of women in Production.
However, a new approach to data collection about labor share has revealed the real state of affairs. Beyond the anecdotal reports we hear about women participation on the farm and what we see during road travels of women farmers, conducting on-farm and off-farm activities, quantitative and qualitative research through the nooks and crannies of the country now reveals the true extent of the roles played by women in all components of agricultural production”, she said.
According to her, the data supplied by credible institutions such as the African Development Bank further supports the position of the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development which says that women contribute close to 70 per cent of the agricultural workforce.
She therefore challenged policy makers to introduce gender-responsive agricultural policies that will ensure that women farmers get fairer and equitable deal.