•Governor woos individual paddy rice farmers for immediate supply
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday, recommitted his administration to actions and interventions that would make quality food affordable and accessible within the State.
The Governor said the ongoing development of Food Security Systems and Central Logistics Park in Ketu-Ereyun, Epe, was part of the current interventions by his Government to ensure food affordability, stressing that the facility would help bring the food market closer to the consumers and scale down food prices.
Sanwo-Olu joined hundreds of farmers at Lagos Farm Fair – an event held at the Police College in Ikeja for the commemoration of the 2023 World Food Day.
The event with the theme: “Water is Life, Water is Food; Leave No One Behind”, was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture with the objective to promote awareness and action against hunger, and to highlight the need to ensure healthy diets for all.
Farmers from various Local Government Areas of Lagos, who were supported by the State Government through Lagos APPEALS Project, exhibited their produce at the Fair and offered reduced prices for bulk purchase of their crops.
As the State population grows, Sanwo-Olu said there was need for collaborative efforts and innovation to sustainably scale up agricultural production to meet demand, while improving food supply chain and security.
The completion of the Food Logistics Hub next year, the Governor said, would centralise the State’s food supply from the farm to the markets where consumers would buy at affordable prices. He said the facility was being developed with capacity for long-term storage to reduce waste and loss.
He said: “It is another year of commemoration of the World Food Day. For us in Lagos, it is to celebrate and appreciate our resilient farmers, while also bringing up a conversation on need to begin to ensure that food is affordable and accessible. It is important to note that the current economic situation has made the prices of food to go up, but I believe with deliberate interventions that will bring the market closer to the consumers, we can help to bring down the food prices.
“As part of our efforts, we are currently building the largest Food Logistics Hub in West Africa in addition to middle level markets we are opening across the State. By this time next year, we would have completed the first phase of the project. The Logistics Food market will be the central hub through which all farm produce will come into Lagos. The facility has cold and dry storages from which food will be supplied to the middle-level markets and where products go to the retail shops.”
Sanwo-Olu said the Logistics Hub was part of a “robust, integrated” plan of his administration to ensure food adequacy and sufficiency. Other initiatives, he said, focused on equipping farmers to raise productivity, and supporting the market in order to make food affordable for the end consumers.
The Governor said despite the deficiency of land in Lagos, the State had been showing the way in urban farming in areas, such as aquaculture, piggery, fishing, poultry, vegetable and fruits production. He reiterated his commitment towards providing infrastructure and creating incentives for farmers to meet residents’ nutritional needs.
In spite of the collaboration with some key agrarian States for paddy rice supply, Sanwo-Olu said the Lagos-owned Imota Rice Mill hardly received adequate paddy rice from its suppliers to meet production capacity. He called on independent paddy rice farmers to collaborate with Lagos in order to sustain the rice production.
“Farming is an important component of our Government’s activities. We need to grow what we eat, and eat what we grow. While we have collaborated with some major agricultural states within the country, we are also looking for independent paddy rice farmers across the federation to raise paddy supply to Lagos Rice Mill. We need a lot of paddies to meet up with production capacity. It doesn’t matter the tonnage of paddy rice they have, we are ready to take it up. This is calling on paddy growers across the country to key into this opportunity,” he said.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, noted the event was held in the wake of critical food security issues facing the country and which required “urgent” actions to scale up food production across the various value chains.
She said the Farm Fair would encourage action on food insecurity, promote production and consumption of safe food, which would have an immediate and long-term benefit on the people, the planet and the economy.
“Not only is Lagos playing frontline role in the aqua farming industry, we are also key players in production of other crops and edible produce. This year’s commemoration of World Food Day is to come out and encourage our farmers, and create a platform for them to be aware of all the incentives and interventions we have created for them,” the Commissioner said.
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