The South-South zonal chapter of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAN) has frowned at the condition of silos owned by the Rivers State Government.
The farmers are worried that lack of maintenance has rendered the few existing state government-owned grain silos inactive.
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In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the zonal coordinator of the MAN, Mr Amadi Godwin, called for improved synergy on food security between the state and the Federal Government.
Godwin said there were few silos at Rumuodomanya, Obi/Akpor Local Government Area developed by the state government and used for storage of livestock feeds.
He, however, lamented that currently, the silos had remained without grains and are abandoned due to lack of maintenance.
He added that there was another state-owned silo located at Elele, Ikwerre Local Government Area, and lamented that political gladiators and the Ministry of Agriculture had always stuck to official bureaucracy.
“This has not in any way encouraged effective utilisation of the facility. The MAN had written several letters calling for reactivation of these state-owned silos, but till date, nothing has been done.
There is no Federal Government-owned silo here in Rivers, but we have been benefitting from the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme. During the COVID-19 lockdown, our association took delivery of appreciable tones of agro inputs, ranging from improved seeds to other agro based chemicals,” he said.
Godwin said though the state had fair weather and soil for some species of rice, the Federal Government should focus more on developing farmers in specific cash crops that strive naturally well in their respective states.
“A major problem in Nigeria is that government has refused to support each of the states, specifically in their areas of major interests and profitability. For instance, Rivers and Delta states are hubs for cassava, maize, yam, plantain, banana and cucumber; as such, farmers should be given adequate incentives for better productivity on these specific crops,” he appealed.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Ministry of Agriculture has lamented an alleged poor response to agriculture development and incentives by the Federal Government for grain farmers in the state.
Mrs Caroline Wali, the permanent secretary in the ministry expressed worry over the non-inclusion of the state in the various Federal Government’s strategies for food security.
According to Wali, in a bid to promote food security, the Federal Government has, apart from incentives to farmers, constructed 30 silos in the country and handed same to concessionaires who are expected to serve as off-takers to grain farmers.
She said the move should have been extended to Rivers, where grain farmers have shown willingness to enter into full production but are faced with the challenges of lack of rice mills and silos (NAN).