Post harvest losses in tomatoes may soon become history as GEMS4DFID pilot test on Returnable Plastic Crates (RPCs) turns out to be successful.

The test which involved the transportation of 585 Returnable Plastic Crates of tomatoes via train from Kano state to Lagos state came to a conclusion when the train arrived at Iddo terminus on Wednesday, at about 7pm.

In an interview with AgroNigeria, the Vice-President of the Nigerian Agribusiness Group (NABG) and Chairman, Best Foods Global Limited, Emmanuel Ijewere, noted that the innovation would bring a new paradigm to the sector and the country at large.

“For many years, the Federal Government has been pained by the amount of losses the farmers suffer. With this now, we are beginning to see those changes come to be and this is a perfect relationship between the public and private sector” Ijewere said.

Ijewere said the federal and state governments can come up with policies that will promote the application of these innovations aimed at reducing post harvest losses while the private sector drives the policies into action.

While commending the Nigerian railway corporation for their support towards the execution of the pilot test, he affirmed that there were still some issues which would be addressed as soon as possible. He added that once the use of RPCs becomes a routine, tomato production in Nigeria will go into a new era.

“The baskets were covered with paper and stacked on one another sitting directly on the produce and this increases the risk of spoilage. However, the use of this plastic crates prevents squashing as the crates though placed on each other do not seat directly on the produce. They also allow for more ventilation and retain the fresh state of the produce” he explained.