Mr Michael Eneh, the Commissioner for Agriculture in Enugu state, has urged businessmen in the area to exploit the Federal Government’s moves to concession silos in the country.
Eneh, a former director in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, said the businessmen could use the silos concessioning programme to boost food production in the country.
He gave the advice at a zonal workshop on the concessioning of 26 Federal Government silos in Enugu on Tuesday.
He noted that the move to concession and put the silos to maximum use would further create employment within the agricultural value-chain and enable food security in the zone and in the country.
``The cost of procuring 25,000 metric tonnes of grains is enormous; Federal Government can no longer (cope with it).
``Do you build silos and allow them to (be) empty?
``What you now do is to concession it out to the private sector.
``If you are a grain merchant; you can go to Kaduna State or Katsina during harvest; you buy grain and store.
``After six months, you can recoup all your money.
``Now, government is now concessioning it to other sectors of the economy that have the capacity to utilise them.
``For which they (private sector) don’t even have the money to put up such infrastructure, because this is a major infrastructure been done by the Federal Government.’’
Eneh noted that the concession would improve food production since it would create off-takers that would buy and mop up excess food from markets and farms.
The Director of Food Storage and Reserve, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Mohammad Ahmed, said government had built 33 silos across the country under the 1987 national strategic food reserve programme.
Ahmed assured that the concession would follow international best practices and it would be given out for a minimum of 10 years.
He said the agreement could be renewed after the 10 years duration.
He said the plan to concession 26 of the 33 silos began in 2014