African nations spend $35 billion annually on food importation
There are indications that poor post-harvest practices have led to 40 per cent loss in tomato yield in Nigeria.
The figure was revealed in a report by Rockefeller Foundation.
Consequently, the poor post-harvest practice caused Nigerian economy about N170 million in revenue loss.
The foundation stated that about 40 per cent of the nearly two million tons produced annually in the country were damaged before getting to the market.
The report revealed that there was need for the Federal Government to work towards curtailing food wastage from post harvest losses in the country in order to entrench food security and productivity.
The foundation called for stronger partnerships between companies to catalyse effective collaboration to achieve value chain efficiency and address gaps and bottlenecks in the tomato industry.
It also recognised the need for stronger business linkages and cross-sector partnerships and alliances across Nigeria’s tomato industry to cut post-harvest losses.
The foundation explained that market-led solutions were being put in place that would involve connecting aggregated smallholder farmers to structured market demand, unlocking access to PHL-reducing technologies and finance, and influencing key actors to prioritise investments in loss prevention.
According to the report, African continent could save up to $83 billion annually if leaders did more to protect crop yields after harvests.
The report also indicated that the foundation expressed dismay over the $35 billion annual spending on food importation by African nations.
It stated that Africa could exploit 65 per cent of world’s arable land, and 10 per cent of its inland fresh water resources to enhance agricultural practices and create more jobs.
“An agro-value chain can reduce poverty 2-4 times faster than any other sector which when amalgamated with clean energy to power agro-value addition industries, can build a $1 trillion dollars agro-sector and create over 17 million jobs along the entire agro value chain,” the report says
It would be recalled that over 40 per cent of tomatoes produced in Nigeria is lost due to lack of storage and under-developed marketing channels.
It is for this reason that plans are being undertaking to unlock financial investments in production, processing, packaging and distribution; improve primary handling operations from farm operations to processing centers; and improve and expand support services like structuring farmers organisations, improving their technical and managerial skills, extension and training, storage and transportation.
Recently, the wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, said that it was a shame to see a country with vast arable land like Nigeria still importing food from countries that are in desert region.