Nigeria’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has trained Kebbi Onion farmers on adoption of good post-harvest handling in order to meet up with 2.44 million metric tonnes of national demand in the country.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Ernest Afolabi-Umakhihe, made reported in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday at a workshop on adoption of good post-harvest handling and Improved storage techniques for Onion production in Nigeria.
“Nigeria is among major producers in the world, recently ranked 2nd in Africa and 7th in the world.
“Despite these potential, Nigeria is yet to meet her national demand 2.44 million metric tonnes and currently contribute little to the export market.
“This is largely due to inadequate knowledge and skis in onion production resulting in high post-harvest losses, poor yield and produce quality, among others,” she said.
Afolabi-Umakhihe noted that over 40 per cent of onions were lost at post-harvest and storage levels.
“Though there is slight increase in the national output from 1.4 million metric tonnes in 2018 to 1.52 million metric tonnes in 2020, about 622,084 metric tonnes were recorded as post-harvest losses with only 895,195 metric tonnes being utilised.
” The demand gab is 1.54 million metric tonnes amidst explosive population growth to be bridged by importation of onions and onion products such as onion powder, oil, among others, valued at $3.22 million US dollars in 2020 which exerts enormous pressure on our foreign exchange earnings,” she said.
She also said the training was aimed at continuing upgrading knowledge and technical know-how of elite farmers, relevant desk officers, among others, to reduce post-harvest losses and increase onion shelf-life.
“The training of elite farmers, relevant desk officers and detention staff, subject matter specialists on coordinated agricultural innovation approach required, will enable you to guide other farmers in best storage protocol to achieve sustainable agricultural production for food sufficiency and global export market,” she said.
Afolabi-Umakhihe, represented by a Director in the ministry, Mrs Omotosho Marvelous, urged the trainees to take advantage of the opportunity in order to acquire the needed knowledge and skills for onward cascading to other farmers in the state.
Earlier, the Director Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Alhaji Shehu Abdullahi, said that the priority of the present administration was the state of a nation’s agricultural development at any time that could be assessed as a result of use of unlimited improved agricultural technologies to satisfy its goals and objectives.
He implored the trainees to take advantage of their presence and interactive with them to build their capacity and knowledge base.
Abdullahi commended the efforts of horticulture value chain for organising the event adding that it would have a positive impact in order to reduce post-harvest losses and increase farmers returns on investment.
“It is my sincere hope that this training workshop will be given the seriousness and diligent it deserves. You are, therefore, encouraged to disseminate every knowledge gathered here to other colleagues who were not privileged to attend,” he urged.
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