Farmers seek Govt, private investments in food processing
The National Association of Mango Producers, Processors and Marketers of Nigeria (NAMPPMAN), has urged state governments and the private sector to establish food processing plants in the country.
Chief Orji Aso, National Organising Secretary of the association, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday in Abuja.
Aso, who decried the post-harvest losses incurred by Nigerian farmers, said that establishing processing plants was critical to checking imminent food crisis in the country.
According to him, the country would be saving a lot in processing foods and a lot to fall back on, in case of any food shortage.
“The question is; do we have adequate and good storage facilities in the country? So there is need to encourage food processing.
“For instance, there is no adequate plants for mango processing and if you ask an average Nigerian, he will tell you that mango is just to cut and eat, not knowing that you can use mango to produce chips, juice and jam.
“Every household should plant mango, know how to process it and know where to sell the mango.
“This is because if you look around you see mangoes littered around and we want to stop that.
“There are individuals that have money that can easily establish the mango fruit juice industry although it is very capital intensive.
“But if you look at other areas like the mango chips, what does it take? just cutter and dryer,” he said.
Aso expressed regrets that though Nigeria ranked number nine in mango production that still had no economic impact because the crop was being for lack of storage faciliies.
“By the time we bring the producers, marketers and the processors together, you will see that there will be no more wastage.
“However, these thing cannot be done without government coming in and that is why we are pleading with them to do something,” Aso said.
According to him, the association intends to ensure that two million mango seedlings were planted in each of the 36 states across the country.
“We have planned that every state should plant two million seedlings in three years.
“Equally we are planning to go round the country to create awareness, to tell the youths to engage in mango production as a a business that will take them away from social vices.
“Going into mango production, you will not even have time to go and play football not to talk of going into cultism and insurgency.
“There are lots of benefits one can get.
“If we can get 200 youths in each of the 774 local government areas that can plant up to 40 stands for one plot, you will see how busy the youths will be,’’ Aso said. (NAN)