The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr Mohammad Abubakar, has said the federal government would generate over N18billion from the concessioning of 17 silos.
The minister disclosed this on Tuesday at the 2022 West and Central Africa Post-Harvest Congress and Exhibition (WCAPHCE) organized by the Center for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER), Benue State University (BSU) and themed: Upscaling and Promotion of African Indigenous Foods (AIF) in Abuja.
Abubakar who was represented by the Director of Food and Strategic Reserve, Dr. Haruna Sule said, the intervention was aimed at reducing post- harvest loses incurred by farmers in the country .
He said, “It is not lease agreement it is a concessioning. It is for a period of 10 years, and this will attract well over 18 billion to Nigeria.Our post harvest losses in this country is well over 30% on federal government, knowing that yes, this will really reduce or discourage farmers from doing business government have been able to concession the silos to address that problem 17 Number silos and the total capacity is 6250 metric tons.
“Federal governments also have been able to establish green aggregation centers. These centers is to allow farmers have access to the centers to be able to clean dry their agricultural produce that is, during harvests and in doing so, this will be able to reduce post harvest losses and also add value to whatever is being produced. Through these centers
“We have various factors that affect these post harvest losses. One it could be the equipment that can add value to whatever is being produced. Transportation too is also a problem and storage facilities. And in addressing this problem, federal government has been able to lease out the silos to the private sectors as you all know, the responsibility of government is to provide an enabling environment for the private sector to drive the economy.
The Vice Chancellor, BSU, Professor Tor Iorapuu said the nation is having a hard time preserving food and this has resulted to enormous post- harvest losses annually.
“One of the issue is that the center is dealing with post harvest lost in terms of food production as you know, insecurity, climate change and some other factors are contributing to the fact that we are losing food and not just that , globally, we are standing a chance of insecurity even with climate change. And we think that what we’re trying to do is to collectively show solidarity and collectively act towards ensuring indigenous food production.
“Not just indigenous food production, but also ensuring that post harvest losses are contained maximally to the best of our capability that is the essence of and this is going to be processed through research and through practical strategies that will help even our local farmers and our big time farmers .
He added that “ we are happy that even federal government has taken steps to provide silos, you know, across the country to ensure the private sector enhance the capacity of local farmers to ensure food storage, and post harvest losses, “ he said.
The Director CEFTER, Dr Barnabas Ikyo called on Nigerians to focus more on indigenous food.
“so we know that Nigerians who are more dependent on imported food products can actually decide to go back and look inward. And we think that while most of our people who produce these indigenous foods are producing are not getting the market for it.
“If we refocus our attention on our indigenous foods, we will have market for them when we empower the economic viability, they’ll be able to produce more who stop more of input will reduce the export import deficit. We’ll have our children feed on better and fresh food from our farms.
He lamented that , the major problem in our country is the implementation of available laws, rules and regulations that exist in everything they are market and price controls agencies in this country that should actually regulate the price of everything just like crude oil just like anything should be regulated and we should know that if you are buying a bag of Garki in Makurdi at 500 Naira, we should work out the profit for you to sell it in Abuja. Now that you buy a market, there are 500 Naira from our sale in Lagos are 10,000 naira.