Expert advocates improved preservation skills to reduce post-harvest losses

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Bauchi.

Mr Daniel Abarshi, the Director of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Bauchi State Office, has urged farmers to adopt best preservation skills to curb post-harvest losses.

Abarshi made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Friday in Bauchi.

He said that post-harvest losses could be as high as 30 per cent, hence, the need for the farmers to adopt best post-harvest handling skills.

“Losses occur before or during harvesting activities if not performed at adequate crop maturity and moisture content.

“Too early harvesting of crops at high moisture content increases the drying cost, making it susceptible to mold growth, insect infestation, and resulting in a high amount of broken grains and low milling yields.

“Leaving matured crops un-harvested also results in high shattering losses, exposure to birds and rodent attacks,” he said.

According to Abarshi, inadequate drying could result in mold growth and high losses during storage and milling.

“Therefore, drying is a critical step after harvesting to maintain the crop quality, minimise storage losses and reduce transportation cost.

“Drying can be performed naturally or sun drying which is the traditional and economical practice for drying the harvested crop, and this is the most popular method in this part of the country,” he said.

Abarshi further enjoined farmers to use chemicals that have long residual effect for storage on crops that meet international standards for export.

While advising farmers to partner with extension agents to curb perennial post-harvest losses, Abarshi urged them to seek divine intervention for the rain to guard against losses due to low volume of rainfall. 

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