Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

All over the world, Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) has changed the way mankind lives. The impact brought about cancellation, readjustment, realignment, and reintegration of lofty goals and ideas. As a result of the outbreak, agricultural production has witnessed a downturn which was attributed to lockdown and stay at home order by the government to curb further spread of the disease. In response to this, governments of nations and individuals have evolved measures to cushion the effects in form of palliatives.

Addressing the losses and wastages in Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (FFVs) through efficient logistics in Nigeria, the Federal Government is making efforts to generalize the use of ventilated Re-Usable Plastic Creates (RPCs) in transportation of FFVs from the Northern part of the country, where agricultural production activities are higher, down South. In the same way, awareness creation, popularization, workshops and trainings on the use of RPCs by relevant stakeholders (Farmers, Transporters, Traders and Marketers) at various FFVs market places are progressing.

Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI); one of the Research Institutes under the supervision of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources developed RPC technology to prevent or minimize in-transit losses in FFVs. Studies have established the importance of Re-Usable Plastic Creates (RPCs) in transportation, postharvest loss reduction, as well as a viable alternative for handling of FFVs in Nigeria (Benson et al., 2020; Okonkwo et. al., 2018; and Babarinsa, et al., 2018). The shallow RPCs were used for tomatoes due to the softness of the fruits, while the deep RPCs were used for sturdy fruits such as oranges, mangoes, plantain and pineapples (Okonkwo et. al., (2018).

The impact of these government efforts is yielding the desired results going by the feedbacks from the on-going workshops and training programmes aimed at popularizing the use of this technology (RPC) amongst all relevant stakeholders. To further deepen the use of RPCs across the nation; the concept of Receipt System could be introduced in government policy post-pandemic. This implies that stakeholders don’t need to own or invest in RPCs acquisitions but instead; they rent and pay token to government registered “Value-chain and Logistic Entrepreneur” who had invested on RPCs for haulage. This would create more jobs, allows efficient management of the receipt system concept, and more importantly, an effective awareness creation for relevant stakeholders because it’s now a business.

Olusola B. Benson

Senior Research Officer,

Department of Research Outreach,

Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.