Association decries lack of maintenance of Rivers State govt. silos
The South-south zonal chapter of Maize Association of Nigeria (MAN) says that lack of maintenance has rendered inactive, the few existing state government owned grain silos in Rivers.
Zonal Coordinator of MAN, Mr Amadi Godwin, called for improved synergy between the state and Federal Government on food security.
Godwin said that there are few silos at Rumuodomanya, Oboi/Akpor local government area developed by the Rivers state government and used for storage of livestock feeds.
He however, lamented that currently, the silos have remained without grains and are abandoned due to lack of maintainance.
Godwin said there is another state owned silo located at Elele, Ikwerre LGA saying that political gladiators and the Ministry of Agriculture have always stuck to official bureaucracy.
“This has not in any way encouraged effective utilization of the facility.
“MAN had written several letters calling for reactivation of these state owned silos but till date nothing has been done.
“There’s is no Federal Government owned silo here in Rivers, but we have been benefitting from the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers Program.
“During the COVID-19 lockdown, our association took delivery of appreciable tonnes of agro inputs ranging from improved seeds to other agro based chemicals,” he explained.
Godwin said though the state has 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 the 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, Rivers State Ministry of Agriculture has lamented alleged poor response to agriculture development and incentives by the Federal Government for grain farmers in the state.
Mrs Caroline Wali, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry expressed worry over non-inclusion of the state in the various Federal Government’s strategy 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 offtakers to grain farmers.
She said that the move should have been extended to Rivers whose grain farmers have shown willingness to enter into full production but are faced with the challenges of lack of rice mills and silos.