By Chidinma Ewunonu-Aluko
Dr Sekinat Farinde, a food scientist at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, has urged the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to develop policies on food processing and production.
Farinde said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigera (NAN) on Friday in Ibadan that the Ministry should also articulate broadbase policies on Agricultural food preservation and marketing in Nigeria.
She suggested that the policy on agricultural food processing and preservation should specifically focus on quality control and maintenance of standards along the agricultural value chain in relation to global market competition.
This, she said, would help ensure adequate food security in the country.
Farinde noted that in developing countries, such as Nigeria, food got lost due to poor production planning, premature harvesting, poor storage facilities, packaging, lack of infrastructure and processing facilities.
According to her, good linkages and networking of stakeholders, adequate and appropriate processing technologies are important in reducing post harvest losses through food processing.
She said that proper storage facilities, good packaging machines, were also very important for attaining high production quality and standard products for the international market.
“Another good one is the use of modified atmospheric packaging: a way of extending the shelf life of fresh food products.
“The technology substitutes the air inside a package with a protective gas mix; the gas in the package ensures that the product will stay fresh for as long as possible.
“It is a modern method used for preservation of meat, sea foods, fruits and vegetables,” she said.
The food scientist emphasised that “it is only through quality standard maintenance of our raw and processed food that we can have a safe and competitive market”.
She added that quality standard maintenance of processed foods would provide enabling environment for wealth creation in the country.