The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has announced a five –year road map to place agriculture as the engine of social and economic growth.
Sanwo-Olu who disclosed this in Lagos on Thursday at the Flag-Off of the 2019 Agricultural Value Chains Empowerment programme wherein 1,750 Agricultural Value Chains Actors were empowered with various agricultural productive assets and inputs said the road map is expected to support integrated agricultural sector growth that ensures benefits for both the producers and consumers.
The Governor who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat explained that the provision of adequate socio-economic infrastructure, on a sustainable basis, to meet the needs of the growing population would continue to receive the State Government priority attention.
Sanwo-Olu said the State Government has developed a five – Year Agricultural roadmap with the theme “A Sustainable and Inclusive Growth Strategy with the Citizens at the core” as part of the efforts of the Government at making Lagos a 21st Century Economy with the agricultural sector playing a vital role in sustainable food security and diversifying the economy.
duction in post-harvest losses, improving linkages with industry in respect to backward integration as well as access to financial services and markets. All these efforts are targeted towards increasing the State’s self-sufficiency from less than 20% to 40% of food needs by 2023,” he averred.
The Governor explained that already the State Government has begun the implementation of various projects in the agricultural space that are targeted at revolutionising food production, meet food production targets and consequently reduce dependence on other States for food supply.
He listed some of the projects to include the 32 tonnes per hour Rice Mill at Imota which will soon commence operations, the Agricultural based Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES), aimed at breeding a new generation of Agro entrepreneurs in the State and the World Bank assisted Agro-processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS) designed to build capacities of actors in rice, aquaculture and poultry value chains.
“We are also committed to the improvement of the Red Meat Value Chain through the establishment of Standard Operating Procedures in processing, packaging and sales of red meat in the State. Our Administration has also established Eko-City Farmers’ Market which primary aim is to serve as a place within the metropolis where farmers can meet with consumers/traders to sell their products under a well-organised structure and a beautiful outlay,” Sanwo-Olu explained.
He asserted that the State Government would continue to provide necessary assistance and advisory services to farmers in order to increase food production in the State.
“In spite of the global climate change which constitutes a major challenge to food security, our Government would continue to provide necessary assistance and advisory services to farmers to increase food production in the State,” the Governor opined.
He called for adequate preparation in order to meet the challenges of a growing population and reinforced the need for a new and integrated approach to food production and agro-allied business in order to enhance and sustain food security.
“As we all know, Lagos State is the commercial hub of Nigeria and the sub region. It has been ranked as the 5th largest economy in Africa and the fastest growing city in the world in terms of economy and population. Therefore, the provision of adequate socio-economic infrastructure, on a sustainable basis, to meet the needs of the growing population must continue to receive our priority attention.
“We must therefore prepare to adequately meet the challenges and reinforce the need for a new and integrated approach to food production and agro-allied business in order to enhance and sustain food security,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The Governor reiterated the need for the active participation of all stakeholders in the agricultural space towards mitigating the challenges of food supply and demand in the State adding that Government alone cannot do this.
He noted that as the State Government continue with its very laudable programmes and initiate new ones, the lots of farmers would be greatly improved and that jobs would be created and food production would also be greatly enhanced.
Earlier, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal explained that the Agricultural Value Chains Empowerment programme is targeted at farmers who are the direct beneficiaries, service providers, transporters, input manufacturers and suppliers within the system whose services are required for the successful implementation of the project.
He said that the programme also provides the opportunity of channeling the needed support to smallholder farmers who are actively engaged in the various value chains and are thus able to create further wealth and job opportunities.
“The implementation of this project will significantly improve the standard of living of fish farmers, fishermen, marketers and agro-processors in the State, expand food production by 3%, increase revenue to the State Government in form of taxes and other levies. This project will also create direct employment opportunities for 1,000 youths as farmers, processors and marketers across the Value Chains through farm expansion,” Lawal said.
The Commissioner implored all the beneficiaries of the empowerment programme to put their inputs into judicious use so that maximum impacts are derived to the overall benefit of Lagosians stressing that the task of adequate food production for Lagosians is enormous and should not be left to government alone.
Some beneficiaries collected their inputs today while others are expected to thereafter redeem their inputs at other four locations across the State at Agege, Ikorodu, Ikeja and Epe.