Thursday, 9 July 2015

Food Security: Drying Tech Recipe for Post-Harvest Losses – Prof Sanni

Photo caption: Prof Lateef Sanni at the 49th inaugural lecture of the University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Nigeria

Worried by the spate of post-harvest losses of agricultural produces, poor economic growth and rising food insecurity, the Country Manager of Cassava: Adding Value for Africa, Phase II (Nigeria), Prof Lateef Sanni, has said that the use of adequate drying technology should be adopted by agriculturalists in order to control the nation’s depleting economy and foster food security.
The renowned Professor of Food Science and Technology made the remark while delivering the 49th inaugural lecture of Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), entitled: “Drying for Wealth, Food Security and Nation Building.”
Prof Sanni, noted that food problems with regards to quantity and quality, are major characteristics of developing countries, pointing out that Agriculture in Nigeria has suffered from years of mismanagement, neglect, and poorly conceived government policies which has left the country grappling with poverty, hunger and malnutrition of large populations.
According to him “Agriculture has suffered from years of mismanagement, neglect, inconsistent and poorly conceived government policies and lack of basic infrastructure. Agriculture has failed to keep pace with Nigeria’s rapid population growth, so that the country, which once exported food now relies on import to sustain itself. Per capital food production in Nigeria remains virtually stagnant, suggesting that the food security situation in the country is still a matter of concern, because a nation that cannot feed her citizens cannot have national stability and economic development.”
“A nation experiences food insecurity when no measures are taken to cushion the effect of production, and price variation have been the primary cause of food insecurity in many developing world like Nigeria. This situation of food insecurity can be attributed to the low current growth rate of crop and livestock production of one percent and 0.75 percent respectively; which are insufficient to cope with the higher overall population demand growing at 3.5 percent per annum. As a result, the gap between demand and supply has continued to widen as production of food fail to meet the demand, both in quantity and quality”
He decried the apathy at which governments around the world have handled the issue of global food accessibility and availability; adding that that in order to meet the estimated food demand by 2050 food supplies needs to be increased by 60 percent.
“The most recent estimates from FAO highlight that 842 million people in the world do not eat enough to be healthy. This implies that one in every eight people on earth goes to bed hungry each night. Current world population is expected to reach 10.5 billion by 2050, thereby ad ding to global food security concerns.” Prof Lateef, however recommended that production, improving distribution, and reducing the post-harvest food losses is a critical component of ensuring future global food security.
The veteran Food Scientist is an authority in studies on the use of flash drying technology in processing cassava based derivatives in Africa; particularly in Nigeria where he is the Country Manager of Cassava: Adding Value for Africa Project (CAVA II). The CAVA II project aims at increasing the incomes of at least 200,000 value chain actors, especially smallholder farmers and processors in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi, by at least USD177 million in five years.

In his keynote remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Professor Olusola Oyewole, said that Prof Sanni was his former student, now his colleague. He noted that Prof Sanni Lateef is the first alumnus of the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, representative of Convocation in the University Governing Council, colleague, an erudite scholar, passionate innovator, a good team player, dedicated researcher and a role-model in sustainable development, to present the 49th inaugural lecture of the great university.

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