The Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing system for Agricultural Lending, (NIRSAL) and a German firm, RIELA Projects GNA LTD on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to address concerns of the annual post-harvest loss of 51.3 million metric tons of food.
The MoU is geared towards supporting the development of Commercial Agriculture in Nigeria and a strategic partnership with RIELA-a leading German Agricultural processing and technology company that provides complete value chain solutions in the agricultural sector.
Under the terms of this partnership, NIRSAL and RIELA have agreed to cooperate in the technical areas of Project Scoping, Project Design, Engineering, Procurement and Construction for projects (EPC) and project maintenance/management.
Aliyu Abdulhammed, the managing director of NIRSAL, briefing newsmen at the signing, said his agency was worried about the alarming rate of post-harvest losses in the country, which he saw as an avenue they could provide risk incentives to Nigerian farmers.
”Our partnership with RIELA today is designed to provide increased access to harvest and post-harvest technology equipment. It aims to help farmers at the primary production level with technology, training, machinery and technical assistance.
“We believe that this multi-level support will improve their productivity and increase their income. Other key areas of support include storage solutions and field level processing in order to add value and increase farmers’ earnings.”
He pointed out that, “Some of the agricultural equipment and solutions that will be available through this partnership include threshers, aspirators, stationary and mobile dryers, steel silos, storage equipment, cooling devices, milling and mixing plants for feed production, as well as packaging solutions. In line with the terms of this MOU, all the equipment will be designed specifically for the Nigerian environment.”
According to the MoU, RIELA will supply post-harvest processing machines, equipment and services to customers within the context of a business-driven framework that is developed by NIRSAL and its counterparties.
They are also to provide comprehensive After-Sales Service to ensure proper maintenance and functioning of the equipment. This includes a 12-hour-back-to-work repair system and After-Sales Service Networks in proximity to customers.
NIRSAL, on its part will facilitate necessary financing required for the partnership from our local financial institutions.
Speaking further on post-harvest losses in the country, he said, “If the post-harvest losses can be effectively managed, they can result to a 9% increase to the agricultural sector’s contribution to the GDP (other things held constant), underscoring the dire need to address this menace. As a nation, we can easily attain self-sufficiency in food production, and become a net exporter of food if we can cut down on post-harvest losses.”
On the average, post-harvest losses in Nigeria are estimated to be about 50% of food produced, with specific commodities recording much higher rates: up to 60% for plantain and 70% for tomatoes and other fresh fruits and vegetables.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Fact Sheet and a survey conducted by the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) in all the six geo-political zones, Nigeria loses more than 51.3 million metric tonnes of food per annum, due to post-harvest food losses across all agricultural products.
These losses are much higher in the rural communities where most of our primary production activities take place. These areas are in dire need of development because of the insufficiency of basic facilities and infrastructure.
Also,the World Bank Reports further show that the Nigerian average is higher than other Sub-Saharan African countries and Global post-harvest loss average of 37% and 32% respectively.
The Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), highlighted that the value of Nigeria’s post-harvest losses has risen to $9billion annually, an equivalent of about N2.7 trillion. This represents 15% of Nigeria’s GDP as at Third Quarter, 2017.What this means is that one-half of what is produced in the country never gets to the consumer. The amount of money we are losing as a country on an annual basis is over 35% of our annual national budget.
In his ealier response, Harl-Heinz Knoop, the Owner of RIEZA informed newsmen that the collaboration and partnership with NIRSAL is geared towards ensuring that agribusiness becomes a viable option in the country.
He said his company would gradually bring in knocked-down machines that will ensure that concerns of post-harvest losses are addressed through proper value addition.
“With the partnership of NIRSAL, our work would be made easier, since they have prepared the ground for us to come in with the right kind of support.
Also, the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Dietmar Kreusel applauded the Nigerian government’s determination towards promoting agribusiness, noting that the agricultural sector played a huge role in reeling Nigeria out of recessing in 2017.
He commended the policy alignment and policy stance of the Buhari administration and the efforts of NIRSAL as a credible partner and enabler under the leadership of the CBN.