SBM Intel, a geopolitical research and strategic communications consulting firm, has revealed that 47 percent of farmers in Nigeria have zero access to any kind of storage facilities during harvest.
The firm disclosed this in its report titled: “Nigerians just want to eat: Analysis of Farmers and Food Transporters challenges likely to impede National Food Security.”
The report read, “Agricultural products are easily perishable while production remains seasonal, and demand for farm produce is present throughout the year.
“In our survey, almost half (47%) of the farmers interviewed had no access to any kind of storage facilities. The lack of storage facilities contributes to post-harvest losses which could get as high as 60 percent for tubers, fruits and vegetables.”
The research firm added that lack of storage, however, was not the only factor contributing to losses, as some losses occurred during harvests and “others occur while the commodities are in transit, during offloading (due to poor handling), and in varying degrees in the entire process from farm to fork.”
According to the report, for Nigeria to avert a food security catastrophe, federal and state governments need to prevent “even higher food prices across the country through various short and long-term measures”.
“In the immediate, the government must fully reopen land borders and end the ban on using forex to import staple crops.
“After placing maize on the list of items no longer eligible for foreign exchange only on 14 July, 2020, the President announced the release of 30,000 tons of maize from emergency reserves on 2 September, and also gave approval to four firms for the importation of 200,000 tons of maize. This could replicate itself for items like rice and cassava in the coming months, items which millions of Nigerians depend on for sustenance.
“For the longer term, wider adoption of irrigation, facilitating the provision of early maturing and drought-resistant crop varieties and a switch to climate-smart agriculture is the best way to guard against crop failure and poor yields.”