A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Ifo/Ewekoro Federal Constituency of Ogun State, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, has called for the establishment of Staple Crop Processing Centres (SCPC) and cold chain solution for farmers in the State. Speaking in Itori, Ewekoro Local Government Area of the state with some party loyalists at the weekend, Akinola said the setting up of SCPCs across the state will drastically reduce the wastages of agricultural produce, increase the state’s internally generated revenue and create employment for the teeming youths.

He said the centres should be established in all the 20 local government areas and 37 local council development areas of the state to ensure ease of access to all farmers. He said: “Ogun State is well positioned to lead the drive for diversification of Nigeria’s economy and reduce our overdependence on oil revenue. However, it is no longer the vogue to export raw materials or agricultural produce. The way to wealth is value addition.

The Staple Crop Processing Centres will help farmers add value to their produce before they are taken to the market.

“The Centres will also reduce wastages and seasonality of these crops. For instance, during rainy season, we see an abundance of certain crops but these crops suddenly disappear after the season. The SCPCs will help put an end to this development.”

Akinola, who is also a maritime expert, said Nigeria must de-emphasise the exportation of raw agricultural produce, as “this does not help the national economy”. He said, “The wealth is in the hands of those that add value to crops and to raw materials. For instance, Africa exports 70% of world’s cocoa yet it derives less than 5% of the $120 billion global cocoa GDP. This is because it barely adds value to its cocoa before exporting.

“In the same vein, Africa exports about 50% of the world gold but accounts for less than 3% of the gold GDP for the same reason. Only those who add value to commodities derive wealth from it,” he said. Akinola also said that farmers in Ogun State will benefit tremendously from cold chain solution as it will help post-harvest management of their crops. The state, according to him, needs a robust supply system that can improve farming income by reducing the considerable wastage that blights its rural areas.

“Another critical need of our farmers today is an effective cold chain solution that will integrate the supply chains for agricultural commodities from their respective production centres to processing centres and consumption centres, thereby reducing physical wastages and loss of value of perishable commodities,” he said. He said farmers in the state will derive more benefits from their labour when losses that occur in the process of bringing produce to market are reduced through cold chain solutions and operation of crop processing centres.

“We need to create more wealth for those who provide food for us all. This is the way to attract our youths to farming. However, farmers’ income can only be increased substantially only when we help then increase the sales of their crops and increase the market rate of their agricultural produce. Staple Crop Processing Centres and cold chain solution are key enablers to make these happen,” Akinola added.

Source: leadership.ng

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