The Federal Government has commissioned a multipurpose grain drying machine to boost agriculture production and reduce post-harvest losses.
Commissioning the machine in Abuja, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Shehuri said the multipurpose grain dryer was meant for smallholder farmers to reduce post-harvest losses, boost production and enhance the livelihood of farming families.
He disclosed that the introduction of the machine to smallholder farmers was in line with the ministry’s comprehensive mechanisation policy as presented in the Green Imperative Project and it would aid in tackling the high level of post-harvest losses in the country as well as preserve crops.
He pointed out that 90 per cent of farmers in Nigeria are smallholder farmers and that the government’s approach towards revolutionising the agricultural sector is to empower these group of farmers.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, represented by the director, general services department, Mr. Solomon Abdul the new approach of using extension workers and providing necessary machines to farmers’ groups would guarantee viewing agriculture as a business venture to attract the necessary investments, innovations and best practices for national development.
In his remarks, the director, Federal Department of Agricultural Extension Services, Engr. Frank Kudla said that the adoption of the multi-grain drying technology would effectively expand marketing opportunities, contribute to better livelihood of smallholder farmers and significantly enhance food security in the country.
He added that the advent of the machine would strengthen agricultural extension services efforts to effectively promote post-harvest losses (PHLS) reduction in Nigeria.
In a goodwill message, the traditional ruler of Kwali, Etsu Shaban Audu, commended the Federal Government for providing the multi-purpose dryer machine for smallholder farmers.
A statement by the ministry’s director of information and signed by Mohammed Gana said the highlight of the event was the commissioning of the multi-purpose crop/grain drying machine by the minister and other dignitaries.
The GTR 750 Mobile Dryer can dry 1000kg of maize per hour and reduce its moisture by 10 per cent. In addition, the machine has a heating capacity of 290kw (direct) and an air capacity of 12000m3 per hour.