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Agric experts decry lack of silo in Lagos to store produce

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Some agriculture experts have  identified lack of storage facilities such as silo in Lagos state as a major factor hampering food sufficiency.

A News Agency of Nigeria nation-wide survey on the state of silos in the country reveals that in Lagos State, there is currently no silo for storage of grains or other food produce.

Mr Wale Oyekoya, the Managing Director of Bama Farms Ltd., said that it was unfortunate that Lagos State had no storage facility, especially as it prides itself as top in agriculture.

According to Oyekoya, who is also a commercial farmer, the state is the commercial nerve centre of the country, and consumes a high percentage of food produced in the country.

“Unfortunately, we do not have storage facilities in Lagos. As big and commercial as Lagos State is, we do not have a single storage facility and this is a state that prides itself to be one of the top states in agriculture.

“How do you produce food without storage facility and that is why post-harvest loses is very rampant in the state.

“Had it been there are storage facilities, all these food items coming from the North and other states will be stored to reduce the mess in Mile 12, Ketu, Oshodi and Mile 2 Markets.

“These are what the government at all levels should be looking at. They should be able to influence the Independent Power Producer (IPP) for states to be able to generate power.

“That way, we will be able to store produce because we need electricity to store some of these things like vegetables.’’

Oyekoya, who is the immediate past Chairman of the Agriculture Trade Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said that storage facility was key to the preservation of grains meant for the animal feed sub-sector.

“Especially, most of the animal feed mills around Lagos are suffering because there is no storage facility for the grains like maize, sorghum and soya beans. This is very pathetic.

“For the Federal Government facilities, we have about 33 silos located in the six geo-political zones, but most of them are not working.

“After we pressure the government some time ago, they were able to privatise 18 of those silos.

“Bureaucracy, people-oriented policies and political will is always a problem in the country. So, without storage facility, we are not going to forge ahead in our agriculture sector,’’ he noted.

Oyekoya, however, called for proactive measures to tackle impending food crisis, as a result of poor storage regime in the sector.

He noted that most countries were already taking steps to reduce adverse effects of climate change to their nation’s food sufficiency and security.

He urged for a more sensitive approach to store produce for the rainy days.

Also, Mr Akintunde Sawyerr, the Founder, Agricultural Fresh Produce Growers and Exporters Association of Nigeria (AFGEAN), said there were 33 silos and 10 conditioning centres in the country.

Sawyerr said that the facilities were more of commercial considerations than their original uses for food availability and stabilisation.

“There are indeed some strategic storage facilities in the country. A decade or so ago, the government invested in the construction of about 75 warehouses, 33 silos and 10 conditioning centres across the nation.

“I do not believe that they are all functional. Some may have been privatised or concession to private companies; and may therefore, be in a functional state.

“The functionality of these silos is, however, in commercial rather than food availability, stabilisation or food security for national interest in its correct use.

“It is also possible that the World Food Programme and other NGOs may have some functional storage to serve emergency and acute food shortages that may arise in the sub-region,’’ he said.

He called for more utilisation of storage facilities for its purpose of food security and sufficiency for future purposes.

Mrs Titi Andrew, a vegetable farmer in Ojo Area of Lagos State, said that the government should also consider cold-chain storage facilities too to service vegetable and fruit producers.

Andrew said that she had not been aware of any storage facility which had limited production and also caused a huge loss to farmers across the state.

“We produce a lot of vegetables in Lagos, but it is sad that most of what we produce go bad because there is no storage for them.

“One of the reasons why our vegetables and fruits are expensive is because once we produce; we go straight to the market, which is not supposed to be.

“We should have something to fall back on in the future, now that there is insufficient rainfall and unstable government policies,’’ she said.

NAN reports that while some South Western states Like Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo have silo complexes, none is currently in Lagos State.

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