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The Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) on Tuesday in Ilorin flagged off the distribution of improved storage facilities to vulnerable women and youths in some selected states.

NSPRI Executive Director, Mrs Patricia Pessu, said the facilities distribution which is in the first phase, would boost the productivity of women involved in agricultural activities in rural areas across 19 states.

The facilities distributed were 1000 Iced-Fish Boxes, 600 NSPRI Hermetic Steel Drums, 120 NSPRI Smoking Kilns and 18 Parabolic Solar Dryers.

Mrs Pessu said the extent of women involvement across the agricultural value chain, are varied, but typically range from 20 percent to as much as 70 percent.

”Therefore with more support and encouragement, these women would deliver more economic value to our country while helping to drive the government’s food security agenda.

”Also, by providing vulnerable women and young people with decent livelihoods, we trust that these facilities will not only help to ease their burdens, but in addition, set them on the path of enhanced economic productivity,” she said.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe said the facilities were imperative because post-harvest losses is one of the major problems of the Nigeria agricultural sector.

Umakhihe who was represented by  the Director, Extension Services, Engr. Frank  Satumani-Kuola , commended NSPRI for introducing innovations to the agricultural sector on a regular basis.

He said the innovations would not only contribute to enhancing food security, but also generate an economic multiplier effect that translates to economic growth and development of the country.

The permanent secretary promised that the ministry would continue to render every necessary support to enable NSPRI deliver on its mandate.

Mr Gideon Shaban, Kwara Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development commended the institute for adding value to farm produce.

He said the distribution was indirectly not for vulnerable women but for all because good storage facility would boost equal food distribution throughout the year.

Shaban added that the introduction of these facilities would help in ensuring food sufficiency across the country.

There were representatives from National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM), Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) and Cat Fish Association of Nigeria (CAFAN).

Others represented are Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria,

Agricultural Development Project (ADP) in Kwara, Oyo, Kogi and past Executive Directors of NSPRI.

The smoking kiln is a technology used for drying fish and meat with it’s capacity range from 25 to 500kg.

The Iced fish box is for the extension of shelf-life of fresh fish which can contain up to 20kgof fish with iced, maintaining fish quality for 48 hours with good sensory attributes.

On it’s part, the Hermetic Steel Drum is an airtight technology for non chemical preservation of dried crops such as grains, pulses, roots and tubers while the Parabolic shaped solar dryer is meant for dehydration of agricultural products.