Nigeria to earn N18bn from silos concession, says Minister


The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, says the Nigerian Government will earn about N18 billion from the concession of its 19 silos to the private sector.

Abubakar, who disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja at the opening of the 2nd West and Central African Postharvest Congress and Exhibition, organised by the Centre for Food Technology and Research, Benue State University.

The Minister, represented by the Director of Food and Strategic Reserve in the Ministry, Haruna Suleman, said the concession will enable farmers to have access to storage facilities.

He said the concession will reduce post-harvest losses which farmers, especially those in rural areas, suffer all year-round, adding that 6,250 metric tonnes storage facilities have been leased to the private sector to enhance food security in the country.

According to the Minister, post-harvest losses are a major problem farmers face in the country due to lack of storage facilities, added to lack of access to the right equipment that can add value to their produce, and means of transportation.

“In addressing these problems, the federal government has been able to lease out the silos to the private sector. We have been able to establish grain aggregation centres that will be able to clean, dry, and bag products.

“This lease agreement of silos to the private sector will attract N18 billion to Nigeria,” he added.

Abubakar explained that the federal government came up with the initiative to provide an enabling environment for private individuals to contribute to agriculture and food security.

He also said the 17 Green Aggregation Centres will process agricultural produce and reduce post-production losses.

“These centres are to allow farmers to be able to dry their produce, and in doing so, this will reduce post-harvest losses and also add value to whatever is being produced,” he said.

Concession will reduce post-harvest losses which farmers, especially those in rural areas, suffer all year-round.

Exhibition objectives

Prof. Tor Iorapuu, Vice Chancellor, Benue State University, said the exhibition was to rally stakeholders to collectively work towards producing indigenous foods and reduce post-harvest losses.

“What we are trying to do is to collectively show solidarity and collectively act towards ensuring indigenous food production and ensuring that post-harvest losses are curtailed maximally.

“This is going to be processed through research and practical strategies that will help local and large-scale farmers.

“We are happy that even the federal government has taken steps to provide silos across the country to ensure that the private sector enhances the capacity of local farmers to ensure food storage and minimise post-harvest losses,” Iorapuu said.

He emphasized the need for the government to support research on ways to tackle post-harvest challenges for economic emancipation of Nigerian farmers.

Iorapuu said the conference will also build the capacity of farmers on ways to add value to their produce, and assured that Benue State University will continue to champion issues that promote indigenous food production.

Director of the Centre, Dr Barnabas Ikyo, spoke on the theme of the conference: “Upscaling and Promotion of African Indigenous Foods, reiterated the importance for Nigeria and other African countries to focus on indigenous food to enhance local production and reduce the bills on food import.

“We know that Nigerians who are dependent on imported food can actually decide to go back and look inwards and we think that most of our people who produce these indigenous foods are not getting the market for it.

“If we refocus our attention on indigenous foods, we will have a market for them, we will empower their economic viability, and they will be able to produce more.

“We will reduce the export-import deficit, and we will have our children feed on better and fresh food from our farms,” Ikyo added.

The conference and exhibition, which ends tomorrow, will empower African researchers to identify technologies through applied research for reducing post-harvest losses. (NAN)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Post

Africa needs energy capital to develop, remain sustainable

Next Post

Ports, shipping need to go green to resist future global crises: UNCTAD

Related Posts