The Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) has rolled out a first batch of hermetic steel drums to farmers across Nigeria to reduce post-harvest losses and enhance the storage of food products across the country.
While speaking at the event, Patricia Pessu, executive director of the NSPRI, noted that the post-harvest value chain is important in ensuring food safety and security in Nigeria, especially with respect to properly dried staple agricultural commodities.
“One of the technologies developed and popularized by NSPRI for non-chemical preservation and safe handling of these durable products is the NSPRI hermetic steel drum produced by Pacegate Limited,” Pessu noted.
Hermetic storage is a method in which sealed, airtight units are used to control moisture and insects in the storage of dried agricultural commodities. The method restricts the flow of gases between the external environment and the internal environment where the commodity is stored, thus preventing pests by limiting the respiration of any living organism within the system.
With the use of hermetic steel drums, dried agricultural commodities such as grains, pulses, fruits, vegetables, fish and livestock can be effectively stored while reducing the impact of pesticides and aflatoxin contaminations.
Olayemi Folorunsho, director of research operations for the NSPRI, expressed concern regarding the practice of using chemicals to preserve grain without consideration for their hazardous effects. He shared that the drums were introduced to arrest wastages and secure staple foods.
The hermetic drums were sourced from Pacegate Limited, a subsidiary of Hana Group and manufacturer of steel drums, as well as the only United Nations-certified steel drum factory in Nigeria.
Umesh Amarnani, the managing director for Pacegate Limited, commended the NSPRI for taking the initiative to sensitize stakeholders in the agricultural value chain on the immense benefits of steel drums.
“Our steel drums are safe, reliable, cost-effective and sustainable and designed to provide efficient storage of dried agricultural produce,” Amarnani added.