The National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM), is set to tackle post-harvest losses in the agriculture sector, using Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).
Director-General of NACETEM, Prof Okechukwu Ukwuoma said this at a two-day Stakeholders’ Engagement Workshop on the Role of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Agricultural Productivity and Food Security in Nigeria on Wednesday in Nasarawa.
Ukwuoma said statistics from ActionAid 2021, indicated that Nigeria contributed about 51 percent of the total food supply in West Africa but the country’s post-harvest losses have increased to an estimated N3. 5 trillion annually.
“This is not good for Nigeria, there is an urgent need to abate this ugly trend,"
“I encourage us to give this workshop the attention it requires so we can collectively come up with the best ways to make agriculture a veritable tool for sustainable development in Nigeria,’’ he said.
The D-G maintained that agriculture constitutes only about one-fifth of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and about half of the total value of its exports.
He said despite this, the 2014 World Bank Development Indicators showed that more than two-thirds of the population live in rural areas and more than 85 percent of people in these regions depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.
According to him, improving the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of smallholder farming is therefore considered the main pathway out of poverty.
He noted that a sector as important as agriculture to the overall livelihood of Nigerians should not be allowed to run haphazardly without appropriate interventions to make it immensely beneficial to all.
“As a responsible government institution with a clear mandate of conducting policy research on topical issues with a view to removing the guesswork from governance, “we have taken it upon ourselves to see how technology can be adopted and adapted to agricultural practices not just to boost productivity, but to also address post-harvest losses,’’ Ukwuoma said.