• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Food security: Imo govt should begin to use the Silos at Ezinachi – Expert

Taming the food crisis: Governors need to do more

A food expert and project development consultant, Collins Emeka Ejiogu, has said that the prevailing food crisis in the country would be worse and linger for a long time in Nigeria if nothing urgent is done as an intervention. He advised the Imo State government to open up the Silos built at Ezinachi in Okigwe Local Government Area, to store grains as an intervention measure so as to avert the food crisis-induced societal vices in the state.

The consultant further advised the Imo State government to begin, without delay, the cultivation of rice because it was the most common grain in the South East and which has a short gestation period.

Ejiogu, who spoke exclusively to our correspondent in Owerri, said that the “major grain that has demand here is rice, and because of its short gestation period, it is viable, it is possible for the state government to concentrate on rice.

“We have on our own privately identified the areas that we can use. For instance, there is a rice project at Arondizuogu in Ideato North Local government area of the state which we were trying to do with the African Development Bank (ADB) but up till now that project has been stalled.

“There is also another one along Imo River in Ngor/Okpala Local Government Area of the state. So, these are locations that can be developed but they are all capital intensive.”

He disclosed that the main issue that stalled the rice project at Arondizuogu was that the Central Bank of Nigeria “insisted that they wanted a guarantee from the state government and the state government didn’t do it; that was why that one stopped.”

He further said: “But I want to quickly inform you that the Central Bank of Nigeria is willing to fund this project. And there was a programme they had when they approved N2 billion for Rochas Okorocha’s government for rice project but the project didn’t materialise.

“So, they are willing to do it again because of the urgent need now. You know we are going into famine and if something is not done between now and the next six months it will be fatal.”

Ejiogu has called on the Imo State government to cultivate rice on the already identified areas and store at the Silo built at Ezinachi. He further advised that the Imo State government under Governor Hope Uzodimma could also mop up rice from other rice producing states like Kebbi, Taraba and Ebonyi and store at the Ezinachi Silo.