Expert laments farmers’ poor access to climate information, says it’s fuelling food wastage

Expert laments farmers' poor access to climate information, says it's fuelling food wastage

Oluwatobiloba Jaiyeola<

The Executive Secretary of Human and Environmental Development Agenda Resource Centre, Sulaimon Arigbabu, has said that about 40 per cent of the food produced in Nigeria gets wasted between the farm and en route to the final consumer.

Arigbadu stated that the major reason for the waste is because Nigerian farmers lack access to reliable and accurate information on climate which could have aided their planning.

According to him, this high level of food waste is the reason Nigeria is ranked as having one of the lowest per hectare yields for major agricultural input.

Arigbabu disclosed this on Tuesday while speaking at a webinar organised by the PUNCH Media Foundation in commemoration of the 2022 World Food Safety day.

The webinar was themed: Food security, Nutrition and Food Safety: The Role of stakeholders in achieving better health through safer food aimed at the importance of looking into food insecurity, food safety and malnutrition in Nigeria.

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He added that one of the most critical issues Nigeria needs to deal with regarding its low per hectare yield is improving farmers’ access to accurate and reliable climate information services, adding that it will enable them to be aware of the appropriate time to farm.

Arigbabu explained, “In Nigeria, we have one of the lowest per hectare yields for major agricultural input. In terms of wheat production, our per hectare yield is just 1.4 tons per hectare while in Egypt the per hectare yield is 6.4 tons per hectare. 

“Also soya beans, our per hectare yield is 1.2 tons per hectare while in Egypt it is 10 tons per hectare, in terms of maize Egypt does 6 tons, South Africa does 5.1 tons while Nigeria does 1.6 tons.

“This happens because of the support we give to our small-scale farmers. It is because of the lack in the knowledge of the farmers in terms of good agronomical practices; we do not provide our farmers with accurate, reliable and timely climate information access.”

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He further added, “Sometimes many farmers plant when they should not, especially when the real rain has not started. And they would have gone to borrow money from their people to plant and the whole thing they put in the ground will be burnt or get lost. Many of such farmers get frustrated and leave the profession entirely.

“The opportunity lost due to such is the major reason why we are having food insecurity. If we deal with that and then deaL with post-harvest loss, things will get better” he said.

To tackle this, Arigbabu implored all stakeholders in the agricultural sector, particularly at the state and local levels to ensure Nigerian farmers are adequately provided with accurate climate information services.

“If we stop post-harvest loss for instance today, we would have by 80 per cent taken care of those who do not have access to good and nutritious food,” he said.

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