Agriculture : FG tasks NSPRI on aggressive research innovation

By Ogundele Olanrewaju

The Federal Government has charged the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) to research into new innovations that would address agriculture’ production losses and post-harvest losses.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, gave the charge on Tuesday at Onireke, in Ibadan, during the inauguration of the newly constructed zonal administrative complex of NSPRI.

The minister was represented at the occasion by Prof. Garba Sharubutu, the Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN).

Abubakar said NSPRI was the only research institute that has a mandate for post-harvest loses and preservation of food.

He urged the management and staff members of the institute to remain highly creative, aggressive and relentless in carrying out research.

“We want to see more innovations being churned out by NSPRI; innovations which are increasingly accessible and affordable to the common man.

“Innovations which are convenient for the common man to adopt and which deliver unimpeachable value to the people of Nigeria,” Abubakar said.

The minister also urged NSPRI to form a synergy with other agricultural research institutes, the local and state governments.

He further called on farmers to access facilities that were available in all the Federal Government research institutes.

According to him, the Federal Government established about 16 agricultural research institutes to render services to farmers.

“First, for genetic improvement; we have added Training and Extension Work to them; we are also at the verge of allowing them to be distributing inputs.

“So, farmers must avail themselves of the opportunities that are bound in most of these research institutes,” he said.

On the newly built administrative complex, the minister said that inauguration of the building fell perfectly into the target set out for all research institutes to ensure optimal performance of all outstations.

He said the new structure would not only provide a conducive working environment, but would serve as an impetus to engage and collaborate more with other stakeholders.

The minister highlighted some of the achievements of NSPRI “to include: establishement of a fish processing centres in Niger and Kwara.

“Distribution of five proven technologies – smoking kiln, ice fish box, hermetic steel drum, improved atmospheric silos and parabolic shaped dryer, to 19 farmers in 19 states across the six geopolitical zones.

“Also, training of Agriculture Development Programme subject matter specialists on technical innovations on post-harvest management,” he said.

In her remarks, Dr Patricia Pessu, the Executive Director of NSPRI, said the overall goal of the new administrative complex was to ensure that NSPRI researchers and other staffers work in a conducive environment.

According to her, this will make the institute to continue to churn out scientific innovations that boost food security and add real value to the lives of Nigerians.

“NSPRI Ibadan Zonal office was established in 1956 and oversees the work of the institute across Oyo, Osun and Ekiti.

“The new administrative structure will, no doubt, especially upon equipping the new laboratories, enable the zonal office to actualise NSPRI’s mandate far more efficiently and effectively,” Pessu said.

She announced that 500 stackable plastic crates would be distributed to tomatoes farmers at the event.

Pessu said the distribution would create further awareness on the use of the crates and serve as a pilot case study to showcase the technology in the South-West with a view to improving the adoption of plastic crates in the country.

He urged the beneficiary farmers to take advantage of the opportunity by making judicious use of the crates.

She maintained that a paradigm shift from the use of raffia baskets to plastic crates could make a far-reaching impact if it is supported by government policy.

Pessu, therefore, called on the Ministry of Agriculture to come up with a policy that would make it mandatory for farmers and sellers to transport tomatoes in plastic crates.

In her goodwill message, Dr Florence Kakulu, the Oyo State Cordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, urged NSPRI to ensure the timely release of research findings to the end users.

This, according to Kakulu, will not only reduce storage products problems, but also enhance food security.

Commenting, Alhaji Saliu Imam, Chairman, Agricultural Development Farmers Association in Oyo State, appreciated NSPRI for its various innovations toward tackling agricultural production and post-harvest loses.

Imam called on the Federal Government to assist farmers with tractors and other mechanised inputs to enhance agriculture practices.

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