The Zaki Biam market accounts for 70% of the yam cultivated in Nigeria. Over 200 trucks load 2 million tubers of yam weekly.
As part of the Shared Facilities Initiative of the MSMEClinics, it was my pleasure to commission the 200,000 yam capacity storage facility in Zaki Biam. https://t.co/v5Pvodz744 pic.twitter.com/moxOcS8c7w
— Prof Yemi Osinbajo (@ProfOsinbajo) June 9, 2020
This large capacity storage, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, will greatly reduce the post-harvest losses that result from poor storage facilities for the agriculture produce.
The choice to site the facility in Benue state, according to Osinbajo, resonates from the fact that the Zaki Biam market accounts for 70% of the yam cultivated in Nigeria, and sends out over 200 trucks loaded with yams weekly.
“Besides, post-harvest losses have been the bane of agricultural production in Nigeria: Nigeria produces 17 million tons of yam annually, but loses up to 40% on account of inadequate storage and processing facilities
“Following discussions between the federal government’s MSME Clinics project, the Benue State Government and market stakeholders, it was unanimously agreed that this 200,000 capacity Yam Storage Facility should be located right here in Zaki Biam, Benue State,” he said at the virtual commissioning on Tuesday.
The commissioned facility has several features including the yam storage facility, 660 units of reconstructed stalls/sheds, construction of internal roads, administrative buildings and a solar-powered borehole.
While performing the virtual inauguration and handing over of the 200,000-capacity Yam Storage Facility at the Zaki Biam International Yam Market in Benue State, Osinbajo noted that the National MSMEs’ Shared Facility Scheme is part of the government’s innovation to support Micro, Small and Medium enterprises in the country.
He noted that the storage capacity in the market was inadequate to contain the size of commerce that goes on in the food supply chain, and that most individual small businesses operating in the area could not afford such equipment to ease their business operations and maximise profitability.
He stated further that there are re-construction works going on to provide 660 units of stalls/sheds, as well as a police/market administrative building, eight units of public toilets, provision of solar-powered borehole with an overhead tank, construction of internal roads with drainage and installation of solar street lights.
What you should know
President Muhammadu Buhari set up the MSMEClinic in 2016 under the chairmanship of Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
Among other things, the MSMEClinic was charged to provide a meeting point in every state between regulatory or approving authorities such as NAFDAC, SON, and SMEs. These bodies were to help the MSMEs proffer solutions to their challenges, at such meetings, and offer advice on how to access credit facilities through the Bank of Industry.
The shared facilities project is an offshoot of the National MSMEs clinic, just like similar facilities are seen in Oyo and Bauchi states.
Also present at the virtual commissioning were Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, Senator Gabriel Suswan, Honorable Richard Gbande, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Sabo Nanono; Special Duties Minister, Senator George Akume, among others.