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As NGO Partners Public, Private Sectors Over Post-Harvest Loss Reduction

Published by Leadership on Tue, 26 Sep 2017

Human nutrition took centre stage as the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) initiated the Postharvest Alliance for Nutrition (PLAN) project to address the high incidence of malnourished children and limited access to nutritious food for low-income Nigerians as captured in the recent Nigeria Cold Chain Summit (NCCS) 2017, held in Lagos. Henry Tyohemba reportsAbout two billion people worldwide do not consume enough micro-nutrients critical for proper growth and development. Women and children in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are the most vulnerable with over 40 per cent of women suffering from anaemia and 84 per centof children with Vitamin A deficiency. As a solution to this problem, people suffering from malnutrition must have access to a diverse diet that includes micronutrient rich fresh fruits and vegetables, protein, pulses and nutritious grains.As a leader in identifying and delivering solutions to address malnutrition, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) developed the Post-harvest Alliance for Nutrition (PLAN) project to bring together the multitude of public and private sectors addressing this issue to collectively reduce loss and waste of nutritious foods. PLAN also acts as both a global nucleus for coordination, programming, research, knowledge exchange and investment on post-harvest food loss as well as a national hub in emerging markets for Business to Business (B2B) engagement.In January 2016, GAIN selected Nigeria for its initial PLAN activities due to the elevated levels of Post-harvest losses/waste in nutritious foods, the high incidence of malnourished children, the limited access to nutritious food for low-income Nigerians, and the strong national and regional commitments to address the issue. Through National and Global Alliances of stakeholders engaged in post-harvest loss and waste reduction, GAIN serves as a backbone organization driving for collective impact.In particular, the B2B Engine platform is where local businesses are matched with international industry leaders and technical experts to increase local enterprises access to knowledge, technical and financial services. To date, over sixty (60) businesses and organizations in the public and private sector have already signed on as members of the Nigeria PLAN Alliance and other prospective members are being identified and engaged.In furtherance of its objectives, the Post-harvest Loss Alliance for Nutrition (PLAN) project organised the Nigeria Cold Chain Summit (NCCS) 2017 themed, An Environmental Enabler for Reducing Postharvest Losses, Improving Nutrition and Economic Diversification at the Renaissance Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria on September 11 and 12, 2017. It was designed to discuss, brainstorm and strategize on proffering appropriate solutions for reducing the high postharvest losses caused by the lack of a functional cold chain system and the inappropriate packaging, poor postharvest handling and transportation of perishable produce such as fresh fruits and vegetables.Key discussions at the NCCS 2017 focused on: the current status of the cold chain industry in Nigeria; the importance of the cold chain as a catalyst and driver for achieving reduction in postharvest losses, improved nutrition and food security; the benefits cum advantages of using plastic crates in place of woven (raffia) baskets and need for the transition support through legislation; initiation of the formation of a cold chain business association for the development of the cold chain system in Nigeria; awareness creation and advocacy on the need for a national policy/strategy document on Cold Chain development at the federal government level; outlining of the untapped business opportunities in the cold chain sector (Food, Pharma and Healthcare) and initiation of B2B networks for sustainable business growth and development; stimulation of local and international financial institutions to invest in local cold chain businesses; advocacy on the need for cold chain equipment to benefit from the import waivers granted to agricultural equipment; and highlighting the importance of conducting a national cold chain mapping of Nigeria to determine current storage capacity and required actions for improvement.On average, the summit was attended on both days by over 130 participants mostly from the private sector; Federal and State Ministries of Agriculture, Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs), Research and Academia, development agencies, Agricultural experts, agricultural finance experts from banks and financial firms, media outfits, trade associations, farmers, professional associations, international cold chain experts, regulatory agencies, among others was indicative of the importance and urgent need to reduce postharvest losses to achieve sustainable food security and improved nutrition in Nigeria.In her welcome address, Roberta Lauretti-Bernhard, Senior Technical Specialist, GAIN, USA stated: PLAN is a platform that was created in response to countries that have malnutrition as well as a postharvest loss problem. Postharvest loss is also nutrition loss. So a platform was drawn that is a combination of the private sector, government and institutions that have a strong objective of ending not just postharvest loss but malnutrition. She said GAINs interest in Nigeria stems from her high malnutrition burden and also high incidence of postharvest loss in fruits and vegetables thus leading to loss of micronutrients. It happens in many countries of the world as well as in the United States where there are cases of malnutrition as well as people who are obese and at the same time nutrient deficient. She stated that PLAN would also be implemented in Indonesia, Ethiopia, and other parts of the world.In her keynote presentation, Professor (Mrs.) Gloria Elemo, Director General/Chief Executive Officer, The Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) said it is very important that the food security of this nation is put in place in a sustainable way. She expressed the importance of food and nutrition security and reiterated the importance of cold chain storage/ logistics in maintaining perishable fresh foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, poultry, meat in a way in which all of the nutrients, especially the micronutrients can be retained to reach the ultimate consumers.She also stated that Nigeria has mostly the fresh fruits and vegetables production in the North and the commercial centre in the South, but the means of transportation to the consumers is the problem, as about 50% of these fruits and vegetables are lost before reaching customers due to bad packaging and poor postharvest handling. According to her; The country depends so much on importation whereas we have the capability to provide food for the citizenry, so if the necessary infrastructure is put in place to totally reduce postharvest losses we would not have the problem of hunger or malnutrition in the country. Consequently, The essence of the Cold Chain Summit is to review strategies to implement as well as to sustain solutions and eliminate losses totally. We must hit the ground running reducing these losses.She called on the private sector to join hands stating that government cannot accomplish this alone. We need to work together as a multi-sectorial unit or we will not be able to achieve most of these objectives. With this awareness and advocacy we are hoping people would see the business opportunity and the money that can be made in this area. Many entrepreneurs would see the import from this advocacy we are making of the cold storage system. She highlighted the importance of bringing awareness to the traders and harped that the media plays a big role in this aspect.She also indicated that it will be decided at the summit to create a multi sectorial committee that will involve the private sector and the government in implementing ideas from this conference, as well as the short term and the long term effect, which will involve the government and the bigger entrepreneurs to come in and buy into the cold chain project for sustainable agricultural development in tandem with objective for the implementation of the agricultural promotion policy (APP) of the Federal Government of Nigeria.Dr. Augustine Okoruwa, Senior Project Manager, PLAN Nigeria, provided a brief introduction of GAIN and the PLAN project and restated that the primary objective of the PLAN is to ensure coordinated actions among the stakeholders for reduction of postharvest losses of fresh fruits and vegetables. We looked at the fruit and vegetable supply chain and identified three intervention points along the value chain: Cold Cain Storage & Logistics; Crating and Packaging, and Proximate Processing. The first anchor we started with is the cold chain storage and logistics which informed the cold chain diagnostic studies of selected businesses.Presentations with panel discussion/Q & A sessions included: A National Cold Chain Map: Knowledge is Power; Optimal Logistics Systems in the Cold Chain, and Standards & Regulations, A Critical Success Factors for Economic Competitiveness; Evolving Financial Models for Improved Funding of Cold Chain Sector; Business-to-Business Discussion on business Models for Cold Storage; Local Manufacturing: Challenges and Growth Opportunities in Cold Chain Development; Mission Possible: The tomato crating story; Traditional and Renewable Energy Solutions for Cold Chain; Human Capacity Building in the Cold Chain Industry and the Role and Benefits of Private Sector Associations. The summit ended on a high note with a strategy session on developing the Cold Chain Association in Nigeria which was anchored by Mr Emmanuel Ijewere Vice-President of the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG) with over 50 participants.The post As NGO Partners Public, Private Sectors Over Post-Harvest Loss Reduction appeared first on leadership.ng.
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