Grains reserve facilities to deplet rise of Food Shortage, says Minister
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring food security through its various intervention projects across the federation.
Speaking during an inspection visit to the Silo complex at the Strategic Grains Reserve in Gusau , Zamfara State, the Minister said Government was interested in the programme as it guarantees food security and regulates the market prices of the produce especially at non seasonal period. He said, “government is interested in the programme, it is a means of price control and guarantees food security”.
The Minister who was elated at the storage facility further, explained that the intervention programme was to “arrest disaster or any crisis situation that may arise from draught and also serves as a bridge to cushion inflation and stabilize the prices at all seasons for the benefit of Nigerians”.
He assured Nigerians that the Buhari administration is “not here for failure but serious about ensuring food sufficiency”, adding that the mop up is an on going process as long as there are enough silos to store them.
In his brief on the facility to the Minister, the Director, Strategic Grains Reserves, Engr Sule Haruna, explained that 33 Nos Silos have been largely completed across the nation and put to use to “mop up grains and give Nigerians hope of food security“.
He informed that it was the food scarcity in 2009 that gave birth to an additional 18 that brought the total to the 33 nos and that Zamfara is one of the states that benefited. He explained that the silo had a storage of 23,000 metric tonnes of mop up excess grains under the Special intervention programme in 2019; 9,000 metric tonnes of Maize and 14,000 metric tonnes of Sorghum, adding that the 20 no Gusau Silos has a total capacity of 100,000 metric tonnes.
Engr Haruna further said that the Silos are automated in line with international best practices and explained that each silo stores the equivalent of 166,000 trailer load of grains.
The Hon Minister had earlier paid a courtesy visit on the Executive Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Bello Matawalle and informed him that the Federal Government is embarking on a massive agricultural mechanization programme that will galvanize the sector and position it for economic growth and food security.
Nanono said although the mechanization programme will be largely private sector driven, government will provide 242 tractors across the country with servicing centers and workshops to store finished goods. According to him, “ it will have a workshop and a store for finished goods as well as fertilizer and seeds and this is going to be owned by the private sector”. He added that government will guarantee the loans for financing the tractors and equipment.
The Minister urged the local government areas in the state and across the nation to take advantage of the agricultural revolution in the sector by taking ownership of the service centers. “ we want the local governments to own the projects, this will go a long way to enhance agricultural development in the country”.
In his remarks, the governor represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Bala Bello Maru, said the state government was grateful to the Federal Government for the gesture of siting the grains reserves and other projects in the state. He expressed delight over the mechanization programme for the agricultural sector, stating that the state will stand to benefit especially in the light of the security challenge it has been burdened with.
He said, “Zamfara State needs the support and assistance of the federal government because we are a victim of banditry, kidnapping, rustling, and people have lost a lot of money in paying ransome”.
Eno Olotu (Mrs)
For: Director, Information