The Organisation for Technology Advancement of Cold Chain in West Africa (OTACCWA), has urged governments at all levels to focus and invest in cold chains to address post-harvest losses.
The President, OTACCWA, Alexander Isong, made the call yesterday in Abuja during a breakfast meeting organised in collaboration with Fairtrade.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), quoted Isong as describing the cold chain as the movement of perishable goods from one point to another in a controlled environment.
According to him, the measure controls the temperature of the produce to avoid deterioration or decay making it unhealthy for human consumption.
Isong attributed the over 50% of post-harvest losses in Nigeria’s agricultural perishable produce such as tomatoes, pepper, and onions to poor storage, transportation and handling.
He harped on the need for proper handling, transportation and storage of goods.
Every developed country has gotten their cold chain right, so it is high time Nigeria focused on the cold chain, and spends in it. This will also help in foreign exchange by exporting the excess produce products.
Isong said: “To solve the problem of malnutrition and get the cold chain right, we need to bring down the amount of post-harvest losses that we have in Nigeria.
“Cold chain is valuable in the medical industry because most of the pharmaceutical companies move vaccines and medicines for those with terminal illness in a controlled environment using cold chain.
“Every developed country has gotten their cold chain right, so it is high time Nigeria focused on the cold chain, and spends in it. This will also help in foreign exchange by exporting the excess produce products.
“We have over 50% post-harvest losses in the farms as most of the perishable crops do not get to the markets because of poor storage, poor transportation and poor handling.”
He said the breakfast meeting was to sensitise exhibitors ahead of the 7th International Trade Fair, tagged: “Nigeria Agrofood” slated between March 22 and March 24, in Lagos.
The Managing Director, Fairtrade, Paul Marz, identified packaging as key in addressing post-harvest losses in the country.
“If you start packaging foods close to the farms, distribute same over the country or export them, they will not be wasted after harvest.
“It will translate to more food in the market, higher revenue for the farmers and more healthy food for the consumers,” he said. Marz noted that fairtrade which has been in existence since 1991 has been organising exhibitions on agro-food and plastic print packs in Nigeria since 2015.