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Post-harvest: Nigeria loses N3.5trn annually – Minister

The Federal Government on Thursday put the economic cost of post-harvest losses at N3.5 trillion annually in the Agricultural sector.

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri, made this known at the presentation of the International Standard Organisation (ISO) Certification for Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute in Abuja.

Mr Shehuri, who was represented by Shehu Bello, the Director, Lands and Climate Change Management Services in the ministry, said that post harvest losses had a negative effect on Agricultural component Domestic Product (GDP).

”Post-harvest losses is a worrisome situation that threatens the Food Security.

“In fruits and vegetables, it could be as high as 50 – 60 per cent if poorly managed, unfortunately not much attention is paid to address this problem as much as it is done for production.

”The economic cost of post-harvest losses as reported by our partner, Action Aid indicated that N3.5 trillion is lost annually due to Post harvest losses. This has a negative effect on Agricultural component Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

”The Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) is set to address the challenge through acquisition of enabling infrastructure, tools, equipment and commitment of the Research staff.

Mr Shehuri said the Laboratory of NSPRI accredited was a testimony to hard work and the determination of the Institute to be among the best Research Institutes in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

”ISO/IEC 17025 that is being receive today will be useful for various testing procedures, sampling, and calibration to instIll confidence in the Research output.

“It is a rare feat that is achieved through the commitment of all staff under the leadership of the current Executive Director, of NSPRI, Dr Patricia Pessu.

”This ISO 1705 accreditation is a proof that the Ministry now has a Laboratory that is acceptable for quality management system in place with the ability and competence to provide testing and calibration results.

”Let me also remind you that this accreditation is not life and could be withdrawn for any stretch of sub-standard practice, hence the Institute must sustain, maintain, and improve on the service delivery.

“The Federal Ministry of Agriculture will continue to support and ensure that this Institute and indeed other Research Institutes are regularly funded to execute their mandates.”

He appreciated the Nigeria Standards Organisation (NSO) and International Standards Organisation (ISO), for deeming it fit to accredit the laboratory.

Earlier, Patricia Pessu, the Executive Director, Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), while presenting the ISO Certificate to the minister, said the approval of the certificate would boost food export from Nigeria to other parts of the world.

”With improved funding over the last four years, the institute embarked on the rehabilitation of laboratories and started the International Standard Organization (ISO) accreditation process about three years ago.

“The process involved upgrade of laboratory facilities, procurement of equipment standard grade chemicals, training of personnel in the various scopes and assessment by the Nigerian National Accreditation System (NiNAS).

”Today we are here to share the joy of the accreditation of our laboratory at the headquarters, Ilorin as an ISO certified laboratory (ISO 17025:2017).

”This is a great feat for NSPRI because we can now boast of a laboratory where analysis can be done with quality assurance (credible, reproducible, robust, and globally accepted results).

”The immediate gain of this certification is that NSPRI can now be reckoned with as an institution contributing to food quality and safety in Nigeria,” she said.(NAN)

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