The Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), has installed two Parabolic Shape Dryer facilities in Ebonyi as part of efforts to reduce post-harvest losses among farmers in the state.
The dryers are sited at Nwezenyi, Igbeagu community in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi.
The Executive Director of NSPRI, Dr Patricia Pessu, who made this known on Wednesday in Izzi said the project was a hygienic way of drying crops.
Pessu, represented by Dr Idorenyin Nwaehujor, the Port Harcourt Zonal Coordinator of the Institute, said the facilities would provide support to farmers at no cost.
She said NSPRI provided the facilities in the state because of increased production of grains and tubers in Ebonyi.
She said the facility has the capacity to dry grains, vegetables, tubers, and other crops for longer period of time before sale.
Pessu said the agency was partnering with the Agriculture Development Programme (ADP) and extension agents to facilitate the project in Ebonyi.
“The technology is durable, dries vegetables between 3 to 5 hours and yam and plantain for 12hours.
“This is a solar dryer that makes use of sunlight. It was constructed to trap sunlight; it is hotter than the open sun and whatever is kept inside is safe from rainfall.
“Even when it rains, the crops are protected. The aim is to discourage people from drying in the open.
“So, it is our believe that the intervention will alleviate the sufferings of local farmers by providing a better way of preserving crops,” she said.
The NSPRI executive director identified post-harvest as one of the major challenges of farmers.
“Farmers loose most of their harvested crops because they lack modern technology to preserve them hence the need for solar dryer facility.
“We have provided such interventions in other states with peculiar farming crop types.
“We are working hard to bringing impactful projects to the people with plans to extend same to other communities in the state as fund comes.
“The project will be needed in Akwa-Ibom, Niger, Ekiiti, Kwara and others for fish processing and other needs,” she said.
Pessu charged the farmers’ group and members of the community to ensure proper maintenance and use of the facility to serve its purpose.
Mr Okike Onwuasoanya, Programme Manager, Agric Development Programme (ADP) in Ebonyi, thanked the institute for supplying the facilities.
Onwuasoanya charged the community to utilize the facilities to attract other agric processing facilities.
An Extension Agent and member of the group, Mrs Pauline Iteshi said the facility would be used at low cost.
Iteshi decried the incessant post-harvest challenges experienced by farmers in the state.
Mr Daniel Anya, the Chairman, Omakara Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative Society (FMCS) in the area, commended the Federal Government for prompt intervention on the project.
Anya promised that the farmers would protect and utilize the facility to serve its purpose.
“We are grateful to the Federal Government who has made it possible for our farm produce to be safe both in dry and rainy season,” he said.