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Stakeholders in S. East urge FG to build more silos -NAN survey

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Stakeholders in the agricultural sector have appealed to the federal and state governments to build more silos in South-East for storage of excess produce in the region.

A News Agency of Nigeria nation-wide survey on the state of silos in the country, reveals that the South East region lack modern facilities to store produce for farmers to access crops in times of shortage.

Silos are established to be used in agriculture to store grains or fermented feed known as silage. They are more commonly used for bulk storage of grains, coal, cement, carbon black, woodchips, food products and sawdust.

However, other stakeholders called on other states in the region to emulate Anambra in the concession of silos, which is serving farmers in the state.

Mr Jude Nwankwo, the Programme Manager, Anambra State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), advised state governments to emulate Anambra government in the concession of silos in their states.

Nwankwo gave the advice in Awka, saying the experience of Anambra Government had shown that it was better to give out the silos to a private body than have them rust away.

“When the silo was initially sited in at an agrarian area of the state, the facility was almost rotting away because it was not being used.

“About two years ago, the state government entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Constab, a multi-million Naira rice firm and subsidiary of Coscharis Company Nigeria Ltd. for the management of the silos.

“Today, the firm has completed the silos and now put the facilities to proper use,” he said.

Nwankwo noted that if other states could emulate Anambra, the era of abandoning such facilities built with tax payers’ money would be over.

Also Mr Emeka Odukwe, the Special Adviser to Gov. Willie Obiano on Agriculture said that the 25,000 metric tonne capacity silo at Igbariam was now fully completed.

Odukwe said the facility was being put in good use, saying that Constab Farms now stored grains in the facility.

He said that though flood which affected the company’s farms at Anaku area of the state last year adversely affected the firm, adding that the firm was currently harvesting and storing dry season harvested rice.

The governor’s aide said that the state currently supervised the operation of the firm to ensure adequate compliance with the agreement it had with the company on the silos.

He said that silos should be situated in each state of the federation and appealed to the state and federal governments to re-strategise and make the facility available.

In Imo, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Patrick Ibediro said the Federal Government silos project in the state “is serving its purpose’’.

He said that the project had helped in huge food preservation in the state and also facilitated food storage.

NNN reports that the Federal Government had in 2015 inaugurated a multi-million Naira silos project sited in Okigwe Local Government of the state.

The commissioner said that government was still fully in charge of the silo in the state.

The state Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr Okechukwu Nzeribe said the silo had boosted food storage in the state.

He, however, suggested that government should equip the silos in the state with modern facilities to make them stand test of time.

The Director of Agriculture in the state Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Ozor Chukwuma said that farmers in the state were just on their own in the preservation of their farm produce, adding that such had led to post-harvest losses.

The director, however, said that commercial rice farmers in Adani, Uzo Uwani Local Government Area of the state stored their produce in ware houses and mills.

According to Chukwuma, there are no such government facilities anywhere in the state.

In Enugu, the state Chairman of AFAN, Mr Romanus Ezeh, told NNN that some farmers in the state preserved their produce in neighbouring states.

Eze said that the silo, which was cited by the Federal Government in Imo State was of little value to farmers from other states.

“As far as I am concerned, the silo located along Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway is useless, as a farmer from Enugu cannot access it due to its distance,” he said.

He said that silos should be situated in each state of the federation and appealed to the state and federal governments to re-strategise and make the facility available.

© 2019 NNN NEWS NIGERIA. EDITOR@NNN.COM.NG