The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has called on stakeholders and investors in the agriculture landscape especially those in the private sectors to join hands with the State government to boost food production and security.
Sanwo-Olu who stated this over the weekend on the occasion of Y2020 World Food Day Celebration in the state reiterated its administration’s commitment towards the attainment of state’s food security objective.
The governor who was represented by the State Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya noted that the state government has been encouraging increased investment and the empowerment of women and youths in the agricultural sector to increase food production, create employment opportunities, alleviate poverty and boost income generation.
“We are committed to ensuring a steady and sustainable increase in food production through the various policies being implemented as well as programmes been driven by partnerships and collaborations such as the National FADAMA Development Project and Agro-Processing, Productivity, Enhancing and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS).
“I am glad to note that these policies and programmes are yielding positive outcomes through positive impact on the livelihood of beneficiaries especially the rural dwellers as well as the empowerment of women and youths along the agricultural value chains,” Sanwo-Olu opined.
He pointed out that human survival was hinged largely on the agricultural sector as it is the source of food supply which was needed for the effective functioning of the human body system.
“This event we are celebrating highlights our administration’s strategic support and assistance both in addressing emerging challenges and in promoting far-reaching interventions to guarantee food security in Lagos state.
“One of such support is the Eko City Farmers’ Market aimed at enhancing the agricultural supply value chains by connecting all the agriculture and agricultural-based products with their markets in a well organised, high-quality market environment to meet the citizens’ ever-increasing demand for fresh farm produce,” the Governor added.
He explained that World Food Day has been recognised by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to raise awareness on the issues of hunger and shortage of food supply in the world as wells as to highlight efforts being made by governments, institutions, organizations and individuals to mitigate the issues of poverty, hunger and malnutrition among others.
“This year has been an exceptional year with the COVID-19 pandemic and as such this year’s World Food Day celebration is indeed special as the need for adequate food supply and proper storage of food for times of emergencies cannot be overemphasized.
“According to World Food Programme (WFP), it is projected that if the current trend continues unchecked, the number of hungry people globally would increase to 840 million by 2030 hence the importance of the theme of this year’s celebration, “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together,” he added.
Sanwo-Olu said the theme highlights the efforts being made by the state in ensuring the growth of the agricultural sector with efforts to ensure sustainable food supply for nourishment required of a healthy and productive populace.
He reiterated the commitment of the State Government towards the completion and commissioning of the 32 Metric Tonne per hour capacity rice mill by the first quarter of next year to further boost his administration’s desire to achieve the state food security policy.
“On completion and at full capacity, the Mill will be producing approximately 2,400,000 (50kg) bags of rice annually for the over 22million people in Lagos State and Nigerians as a whole.
“The Mill will further create employment of over 250,000 jobs in the State and ensure a sustainable supply of wholesome rice at an affordable price to the people in Lagos and its environs,” he said.
The governor said that 800 rice farmers had been trained and empowered to boost rice farming in the state adding that the state was committed to ensuring a steady and sustainable increase in food production.
He said that state government had recently empowered 2,743 farmers including agro-processors, fishermen, butchers and marketers with agricultural inputs and productive assets under the Y2020 Agricultural Value Chains Empowerment Programme adding that 10 solar-powered kiosks produced by the APPEALS Project were similarly given to farmers at the programme.
Earlier, the State Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya said that state government was focusing intensely on the various technologies that would enable farmers to farm all year-round and provide food security and safety in the state.
The Acting Commissioner who spoke through the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Olayiwole Onasanya, noted that the celebration of the World Food Day helps in spreading awareness about the crucial needs of effective agriculture and food policies that are implemented by governments across the world and to make sure that there is food sufficiency for everyone.
Olusanya noted that a School Agricultural Quiz Competition took place during the week of celebration as part of activities marking the celebration in the State adding that Ansar – ul – Deen Senior High School, Surulere emerged the overall winner while Ajara Senior Secondary School, Badagry and Abibat Mogaji Girls’ School, Agege came second and third, respectively.
“It is with a sense of pride that I wish to inform Mr Governor that the performance of the students who took part in the competition was exemplary and thus, we as a Ministry have no doubt that the youths are willing to step into the shoes of the ageing farmers in due course,” she said.
The 16th of October every year is celebrated widely by over 150 countries, as well as, several international organizations concerned with issues of poverty, hunger and food security such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) among others.
The President, Lagos State Women in Agriculture Association, Alhaja Mulikat Ogunlola, commended the state government for its continuous support to farmers through seeds and inputs supply, empowerment, equipment and training.