The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it plans to increase its loans to Nigeria by over 8 billion Dollars next year with investments in energy, infrastructure and agriculture.
President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina says AfDB plans to help set up ‘staple crop processing zones’ and create agribusiness clusters across the country to curb harvest losses of as much as 70 percent for some crops.
“These zones will change our rural economy. You will be able to create markets for farmers and reduce massive post-harvest losses. You will change the structure of agriculture itself because people will see it as a business as opposed to a subsistence activity” Adesina Said.
Massive post-harvest losses remain a daunting challenge to Nigerians as a result of inadequate processing facilities and storage.
In 2016, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, in the Agriculture Promotion Policy (2016-2020) document submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari, confirms the country’s post-harvest loss rates of perishable crops is up to 60 percent.
Tarungwa Tordue, a peasant farmer in Benue State narrates his struggle through 2015 cropping season with his tomato farm
“I harvested over 500 baskets of tomatoes but could not sell them because there were no buyers. I could not even preserve them because there was no storage and processing facility in Benue State. So, I abandoned them at the market in Gboko” he laments
Yam, one of the country’s staple food, rot in storage due to poor technology storage system. Farmers struggle through cropping season to tend their produce with the expectation massive output and profit, only to be disappointed as they cannot store or process these produce effectively, forcing them to dispose, with disappointment, their expectant reward of hard work.