Not less than 47 percent of farmers have zero access to storage facilities during harvest, which could rise to 60 percent for tubers, fruits, and vegetables.
The SBM Intel, a geopolitical research and strategic communications consulting firm, disclosed this in a 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% for tubers, fruits and vegetables.”
Speaking about the factor contributing to losses during harvests, SBM Intel said: “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.”
The report urged that for Nigeria to avert a food security catastrophe, state and federal governments need to prevent “even higher food prices across the country through various short and long term measures.”
They said: “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.”