Dr Sayyadi Ruma,Â the Minister ofÂ Â Â Â Agriculture and Water Resources, said that the approval of the N250 billion Agricultural Intervention Fund by the National Assembly would aid the countryâ€™s agricultural development.
The minister said this on Monday in Sheda, near Abuja, when he inspected the silos, being built at the cost of N4.2 billion.
He said that the approval had led to the release of the 15 percent mobilisation fees to contractors handling the construction of 20 silos across the country at the cost of N47 billion.
The minister expressed satisfaction with the quality of work done on the silos by Metropole Development Limited, the contractor handling the job.
He said that from all indications, the job would be completed before the 12 month deadline given to the contractor.
Ruma also said that the 20 silos, when completed, would increase the storage capacity of the National Strategic Grains Reserve from the current 300,000 tonnes to a minimum of 1.5 million tonnes.
He said that the silos project was part of the Federal Governmentâ€™s efforts to transform the agriculture sector and make it responsive to emerging challenges.
The minister said that the strategic grains reserve programme would help in stabilising prices, while providing alternative commodity markets for farmers and ensuring food security.
Ruma said that the construction of seven new 100,000-tonne silos were ongoing in each of the countryâ€™s six geo-political zones and the FCT.
He said that the project would involve the completion of grainsâ€™ storage facilities at Gaya in Kano State and Dutsi_ma in Katsina State.
Ruma also said that the Federal Government, through the intervention fund, had also providedÂ N80 billion in the 2009 budget, under the guaranteed Minimum Price Scheme, for the procurement of farmersâ€™ produce.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that contracts for the construction of 20 silos, agricultural conditioning centres and rice_processing centres across the country were signed in Abuja in July.