Agric organisation urges govt. to train farmers on post harvest management


 The Agro Impact Projects Empowerment Initiative, an agricultural organisation, has urged government at all levels to train farmers on post harvest management of agriculture produce to boost food sufficiency.
The organisation’s members led by Dr Eyiwumi Olayinka, wife of the Vice-Chancellor of University of Ibadan (UI), who made the appeal in Ibadan, implored government to adequately fund research institutes to develop technologies that would enable farmers to preserve excess produce.
``Farmers need to be trained, from time to time, to ensure that they deploy best practices; this will, in turn, help to regulate prices of produce and eradicate scarcity in some seasons,’’ she said.
She also emphasised the need to adequately equip agriculture quarantine departments in the country to enable them to function better.
``The tomato disease, which was imported into Nigeria, is an indication that our borders are porous.
``The quarantine units within agencies that control the things that come in and go out of the country are not doing well,’’ Olayinka said.
Similarly, Dr Morufat Balogun, a Geneticist in UI, advised government to set up a shelf-to-use committee that would always contact universities on the technologies available on the shelf.
``We need to have a committee that will write to universities to ascertain available technologies on the shelf to push out to the people and to sensitise them.
``The committee will then prioritise the technologies to determine those that will boost food security and fund researches into such technologies.
``I believe that having such a committee there will make a marked difference in the efforts to boost food sufficiency,’’ Balogun said.
Also, Animal Scientist in the University, Dr Ngozi Anurudu, said government’s policies should be improved to ensure that they help rather than hinder the growth of agriculture.
``Some of the policies we have hinder growth of the agriculture sector; the levy/tax on tractors is quite high and import duty on agric implements is also too expensive.
``Policies that encourage high levies will certainly hinder progress in the agric sector,’’ she said.
The lecturer stressed the need to re-engineer the mind of youths to embrace agriculture.
``Agriculture is a vocation that must be learnt on the farm, you learn it by actually participating in its practices; not by mare sitting down in the classroom,’’ Anurudu said.
An Agronomist in UI, Dr Lydia Babatola, urged government to assist farmers with farm inputs as it may be difficult for them to meet the collateral and other requirements requested by banks.
Babatola also advised government to subsidise farming implements which are expensive and beyond the affordability of many farmers.
NAN reports that the lecturers maintained that the government should institutionalise policies that would enable the private sector to participate in agric schemes, stressing that government alone cannot handle it.

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