THE Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, says the first phase of the largest food logistics hub in West Africa will be inaugurated in 2024 to boost food security in the state.
Sanwo-Olu stated this while addressing journalists at the grand finale of the 2023 World Food Day celebration on Monday at the Nigeria Police College, Ikeja, Lagos.
The governor accompanied by Ms Abisola Olusanya, State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Oluwarotimi Fashola, Special Adviser to the governor on Rice Initiative and members of the state executive council inspected various agricultural produce and product on display.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that farmers from the 20 local governments and 37 local council development areas participated in the fair.
The programme tagged: Farm Fair, Shop, Eat and Learn” is to commemorate the 2023 World Food Day with the theme: “Water is Life, Water is Food, Leave No One Behind”.
The World Food Day is an annual celebration by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations on Oct.16, to encourage action on food insecurity.
“A part from the middle level markets that we are building, we are building the largest food logistics hub in the whole of West Africa.
“You were part of the ground breaking ceremony which we did last year and I want to inform you that before this time next year, we should have finished the phase one of the project.
“It is the largest logistics hub in the whole of West Africa, you can take a trip there independently and see for yourself, the amount of work that is going on there.
“That logistics food market is supposed to be the central hub where all sort of food in Lagos will come in, it has cold storage and dry storage and all sorts.
“Our plan, if you remember that two years ago, we flagged with our five year plan, it will now take them to the middle level market; we have built about three of them and we are building additional five.
“The middle level markets will now take it from main hubs before it now goes to last mile, the corner show markets and the markets that all of you see in the state,” he said.
The governor said the state had a robust integrated plan that would ensure food sufficiency and food adequacy in Lagos.
He noted that the plan became important because food security globally was becoming an issue.
“We have a robust integrated plan at ensuring that food sufficiency, food adequacy in Lagos is secured because food security globally is becoming an issue.
“For us as a government, we need to be able to help the market, we need to be able to help the farmers and we need to help our citizens.
“That’s why I have come here personally to come and celebrate with them, to come and celebrate them and to come and say it to them that we will not leave them alone.
“We will continue to bring about infrastructure and funding to ensure that the theme for this year leave know one behind,” he said.
The governor encouraged more people to go into rice cultivation to sustain the state’s rice mill in Imota, Ikorodu.
“We are looking for paddy rice growers in Lagos because we have the biggest rice mill and we are also collaborating with other states.
“Our rice mill still needs a lot of paddy. It does not matter the quantity of tonnes of paddy that they grow, we will buy it off them.
“The same thing with other paddy growers in the country and we need to begin to ensure that food is also affordable and accessible.
“We know that the price of food has gone up but with intervention like this, that brings market closer to the consumers, am sure that all of the produce that have been brought here today will be picked up and bought-up,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that his administration was committed to encouraging farmers, while assuring that farming was important to his administration to ensure that food was affordable and accessible for all.
“I am here this afternoon to give them all the encouragement, to show to the world that Lagos can begin to show the way for urban farming.
“We do not have a lot of land but the little one that we have, we are encouraging our farmers to continue to support the need of the citizens because we know that we need to grow what we eat and eat what we grow.
“We can collaborate with other neighbouring states and other parts of the country to bring all of these produce to Lagos because the population is here.
“For me, it is to continue to encourage of the Ministry of Agric and all of their officers, extension workers and project managers to continue to help and hold these farmers.
“Especially in the aquaculture farming, piggery, fishing, poultry and all of the other areas in which we can excel.
“It’s another year of celebration to celebrate them, to thank them, and for the media to know that farming for us is important.
Earlier, Ms Abisola Olusanya, State Commissioner for Agriculture, said farmers and farmers’ groups with exceptional produce would be recognised and awarded prizes at the event.
Olusanya noted that farmers, fishermen, and processors from the entire length and breadth of the state participated in the celebration.
She said that the farmers had put in a lot of work in their different value chains to feed Lagosians and as the saying goes, “no farmer, no nation”.
Dr Femi Oke, the Chairman All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Lagos and South-West Zone, said insecurity, flooding and poor funding pose a great danger to food security in the country.
Oke urged the federal and state governments to increase budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector to increase funding to farmers.
He also called for reduction in interest rates for farmers and agro processors to reduce the price of food commodities.
“It is not too conducive for a farmer to be paying between 18 to 24 per cent as interest rate.
“We are looking at how government can come in with a single digit interest rate for farmers so that it can reduce the price of commodities in the markets.
“We are seeking the government support in this area as we celebrate the
World Food Day,” he said. (NAN)
October 16, 2023 @ 20:41 GMT|Tags: Babajide Sanwo-Olu