The Lead Strategist, Futux Agri Consult Ltd, Mr Babatunde Olarewaju, on Monday said that climate change affected every aspect of agricultural production and not majorly the shelf life of vegetables.
Olarewaju told the News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) in Lagos that the longer vegetables like tomatoes, carrots and onions among others lasted in the market, depended mostly on post-harvest handling techniques.
He said that most times, farmers were not trained on how to handle, harvest and transport vegetables which had a ripple effect on the life span of the commodity in the market.
“We have been quick to attribute almost all the shortcomings farmers face to climate change, which is not far from it, but the durability of vegetables in the market depends on how the farmer handles the commodity.
“Climate change is really affecting the agricultural yield per hectare but it is not affecting the shelf life of commodities. Currently, we cannot accurately predict the rainfall pattern across the country.
“This should spur the government to seriously tackle climate change because its effects could threaten food security and definitely affect the parts of the country where rain-fed agriculture is prominent, as the quantity of food will reduce.
“Farmers should be trained on proper handling of vegetables after harvesting,” the agriculturist said.
Olarewaju advised that the best time to harvest vegetable was early in the morning or late in the evening, and should be left to sit under a shed, to cool its temperature, before being transported to the market.
He identified low quality fertiliser and wrong fertiliser application as factors affecting long shelf life of vegetables, noting that “many farmers do not know how to apply fertiliser, and they do so wrongly.
“That mostly leaves residue in the vegetable.”
He cited lack of training as another problem responsible for poor agricultural practices in the country.
Olarewaju, however, urged the Federal Government to improve on the quality of fertilisers produced under the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative which, he said, was of low quality. (NNN)