Nigeria needs additional silos to prevent food scarcity – Ex- commissioner

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The Federal Government should build additional silos nationwide to stave off hunger in Nigeria in the near future, a former Commissioner for Special Duties in Delta, Dr. Nnamdi Onochie, has advised.

Speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Monday, Onochie said that government should build more silos to ensure food security as the country faced reduced farming activities, due to activities of bandits and killer-herdsmen.

He said that the 33 existing silos in the country were not enough to hold sufficient grains that would be needed by the populace in the months ahead.

According to Onochie, the existing 33 silos in some states have the capacity to hold 1,360,000 metric tons of grains.

He argued that pervading insecurity in many communities in the country, especially in farming villages had posed a clear and present danger to food security in Africa’s most populous nation.

Farming communities, especially in North – Central Nigeria, the food basket of the nation, have been at the receiving end of deadly attacks on farmers that have forced farmers out of their farms in recent years.

Onochie, who is also a politician, said that inability of many farmers to farm their lands was because of fears of getting killed on their farms.

He said this had made it inevitable for the government to start to think outside the box on how the masses would survive food scarcity in the near future.

“The prevailing rains have brought relief of availability of quick foods to the populace.

“Corn, boiled groundnuts, potatoes, and other readily available wet weather foods have brought consolation and comfort for the moment. However, this may not endure for long.

“So, this is the time to plan for the lean season ahead when there may be a scarcity of food for the masses because farming has reduced significantly in parts of the country because of banditry, terror, and insurgency,’’ Onochie said.

He said that it would prove costly for Nigeria to depend on other countries to feed its huge population, noting that planning for the rainy day was the hallmark of progressive governance.

“Government’s statutory responsibility to the nation and all its citizens in food sufficiency needs to be strengthened and enforced.

“Silos of secured foods in 2021 will assist in lowering the cost of foods in 2022 and in the same vein, planning for expanded food preservation silos will in future provide buffers from waste, hunger and higher cost of foods,’’ Onochie recommended.

He pleaded with the Federal Government to tackle banditry, insurgency, and terrorism decisively to make the country safe so that farmers would return to their farmlands to cultivate food to feed the populace.

Onochie also appealed to those he described as agents of darkness destroying the country to give peace a chance.

He said this was necessary so that Nigerians would live in peace and harmony to pursue their daily chores, rather than contending with abductions and other threats to their existence.