FOOD SPOILAGE: A Pest On Nigeria's Agricultural Growth
The ironical occurrence of food wastage in Nigeria despite the government's interest in agriculture, the appointment of serious men in the scene and the financial resource, is a serious issue that must be addressed with all urgency, especially now that farmers suffer defeat almost on every harvest.
In 2017, the Director General, Prof. (Mrs) Gloria Elemo, of Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), pointed out that post-harvest losses settle around 50%, if not more of the food produce. And the rate at which some fragile produce like vegetables and fruits decay are even much higher, due to their perishable nature. It has also been gathered that because of the bad roads in the nation, some food produce do not even get to the market before they die away, some due to unskillful use of the processing equipment's by the farmers, while some in the process of distribution.
Much more alarming are the produce which get spoilt or affected right from the storage process. Reasonable quantities of agricultural produce which could have be available for human consumption, profit making, and economy development waste away yearly due to inappropriateness in the storage process. This is partly because the farmers do not have the right knowledge in this area. It is therefore a necessity for the government to provide a medium where all agriculturally-inclined personnel can be trained.
Also appalling, is the fact that, despite the huge financial resources lavished on agriculture when the current government resumed office in 2015, the length at which people suffer for food in the nation is yet beyond measure. Info Guide Nigeria deduced that an estimated populace of 12.1 million Nigerians live in hunger when an approximated value of 1.3 billions tonnes of food is wasted annually.
More so, another threatening factor of food wastage in Nigeria is the long-standing devil, lack of electricity. It is understood that even when the storage equipment's are available, and skilled farmers to handle these equipment's, the lack of electricity in the nation does not make things work. This is made possible because many of these harvested produce (vegetables, fishes etc), require a cold temperature to survive. Hence, government might need to tackle this with all seriousness, just as they are tackling others areas also.
At this junction, it is advisable to develop reuse culture. This is the ability to convert wastes to renewable energies. While Nigeria cannot curb food spoilage to a net point of zero (not even any country in the world), a reasonable percentage of the food remains can be converted to produce energy, which is also useful to the farmers in powering their electrical machine, like the refrigerator, and thereby promoting the trade.