Farmers in Enugu decry bad roads, lack of storage facilities for perishable produce

Pic.18. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Alhaji Mahmud Isah-Dutse (L), welcoming the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna-Ahmed and her husband, Alhaji Shamsuna Ahmed, during the Minister’s assumption of duty in Abuja on Wednesday (21/8/19). 05366/21/8/2019/Jones Bamidele/NAN

Some farmers in Enugu State have decried poor roads and lack of storage facilities for perishable produce such as vegetables in the state.

Some of the vegetable farmers told the Nigeria News Agency in Enugu that majority of the vegetable farmers dread going to the market to sell their produce because of the bad roads.

According to them, lack of storage facilities also worsen the situation as farmers incur huge losses and are forced to sell at cheaper rates at roadsides.

One of the farmers, Miss Ijeoma Olisa, who sells spinach popularly known as ‘green’ said that most farmers prefer selling vegetables by the roadside at cheaper prices because of their perishable nature.

“The markets are far from us and the roads are bad, it is difficult to get our goods to the markets,’’ she said.

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Mrs Kate Umeh, a waterleaf farmer said farmers of highly perishable produce such as vegetables were not encouraged by the poor road to have large farms.

“The condition of the roads has remained a serious challenge for vegetable farmers, who find it very difficult getting their produce to the market.

“This leads to serious financial losses and it is discouraging farmers from cultivating large farmlands for fear of how to sell after huge harvest.

“Farmers will be very happy if Enugu State government improve the conditions of the roads by reconstructing them,“ she said.

Umeh said that the government would also help perishable produce farmers by constructing new roads that could to enable farmers have easy access to the market from their farms.

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Mrs Maria Nwakwo, a pumpkin leaf farmer popularly known as `ugu’  said over 45 per cent of what she planted perished before getting to the market.

“l incur these losses mostly during the vegetable harvest seasons.

“Vegetables spoil during the harvest seasons and this is because they need to be kept in refrigerated conditions soon after harvest, which l do not have or can afford,“ she said.

Mrs Uju Agu, an okra farmer said that the main challenge faced by vegetables farmers after harvest was how to store and preserve them.

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“Vegetables need cool environment to remain fresh before they are taken to the market.

“Many of us farmers cannot afford to generate electricity on our own and not all of us can also afford refrigerated storage facilities.

“Refrigerated storage facilities for our vegetables will enable farmers to minimise losses after harvesting their produce as it will  make them remain fresh, “ she said.

Agu said that the Enugu State government should help vegetable farmers by providing facilities for storage of  harvested produce.

She said that if vegetable farmers have access to storage facilities, it would make them available all year round.

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