By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Farmers in Akwa Ibom State have received agricultural storage items worth millions of naira courtesy of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development through the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI).
Speaking during the distribution of the items to benefiting farmers in Uyo on Thursday, the Executive Director of the Institute, Dr Patricia Pessu, said that the federal government was determined to ensure reduction in harvest losses through storage.
Pessu, who was represented by the Zonal Coordinator, Port Harcourt Zonal Office, Dr Idoroenyin Nwaehujor urged beneficiaries of the items to ensure proper use of the items to encourage the federal government to do more.
She said that farmers dried their fishes wrongly in such a away that when taken to international market because of wrong storage it does not meet the approved standard.
The Executive Director said the storage facilities distributed would help farmers to store their agricultural products and export for value addition.
She said the facilities, such as hermatic drum has the capacity to preserve grains and dried products for over three years.
“Our mandate is to carry out research into storage facilities and you will agree with me that the main problem of agriculture sector is storage. The farmers are very hard working in planting and what happened after harvest is the issue.
“So, we have carried out researches over the years and we have come up with some technologies that will help to extend the live of our agricultural products.
“So, those are the things we have brought today. These things have been distributed in many states of the federation.
“With these facilities you can store your agricultural products after harvest and sell when you can make more profit, because during harvest prices are very cheap,” she said.
She urged the beneficiaries to ensure proper use of the facilities, stressing that agricultural agents would visit them for regular monitoring to ensure the items were not abused.
In her remarks, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Glory Edet, thanked the federal government, NSPRI for ensuring that the storage facilities were sent to farmers in Akwa Ibom.
Edet, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Mary Bassey, said that the state government would continue to partner with the federal government to enhance agriculture production in the country.
She assured that the beneficiaries in the state would make judicious use of the facilities to improve on their farming businesses.
The State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Uyo-Obong Uko, said that the use of storage facilities would prevent the use of chemicals, stressing that chemicals are dangerous to the body.
Uko said that the storage facilities would discourage the use of chemicals, prevent harvest losses and improve value addition.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, Mr Emma Ekanem, Acting Programme Manager and Director, Technical Services, Akwa Ibom State Agricultural Development Programme (AKADEP) lauded the institute and the federal government for facilitating the delivery of the facilities to farmers in the state.