Maputo — The Mozambican Minister of Industry and Trade, Carlos Mesquita, has announced that the silos built to conserve agricultural products, and to encourage agricultural marketing, will in the near future pass into the hands of private managers, according to a report in Tuesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".
Speaking in the northern city of Pemba, Mesquita said that the Mozambique Merchandise Exchange (BMM), which currently manages the silos, will soon launch public tenders inviting private businesses to bid for the silos.
There are complexes of silos in the northern provinces of Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Nampula, and in the central provinces of Zambezia, Sofala and Tete.
But they never worked as desired. Mesquita made his announcement after visiting one of them, at Nanjua, in the Cabo Delgado district of Ancuabe. It was built about seven years ago, and has never been fully functional. "Noticias" even describes this complex as "a white elephant".
Mesquita noted that the Nanjua complex cannot be handed over to new managers in its current state. The weighbridge and equipment for handling grain need repairs, and Mesquita put the cost of this at "two to three million meticais" (29,000 to 44,000 US dollars, at current exchange rates).
At a meeting with local business people, Mesquita said that in taking the decision to farm out the silos to private management, the government was indicating that it does not agree with the way the BMM has managed the silos.
He said this is an opportunity for the business class to complete the value chain of food production and agricultural marketing activity.