The Lagos State Government has flagged-off the emergency neighbourhood food markets for residents of communities essentially to address the problem associated with the restriction and promote social distancing in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in the State.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal who spoke during an inspection tour to some of the markets at Ikaja Primary School, GRA and Ojota Nursery and Primary School, Ogudu, Lagos noted that there are 25 of such neighbourhood food markets across the State.

Lawal noted that that the aim of setting up the neighbourhood food markets was to provide Lagosians access to food supplies during this restrictive period in order to prevent panic buying in line with the State Governor’s directives closing all markets and stores trading in non-essential commodities.

He added that the markets were makeshift markets within the neighbourhood for families that do not have the capacity to buy food stuffs in bulk to have access to a market during the current restriction in the State.

The Commissioner explained that the markets, which are the first edition, would enable shoppers buy produce and other everyday needs such as beverages, vegetables, fish, poultry products, bread and other essential needs at competitive, affordable and farm gate prices.

“Today, we are flagging-off the emergency neighbourhood food markets setup by the State Government in selected schools to bring markets closer to the people. Essentially, what we are going to see here is how a market is brought closer to the community. We don’t want a situation where people have to travel far in public transportation thereby exposing to the danger of the spread of COVID-19 .

“By the time people know there is a neighbourhood market within the area which people can just walk 200 meters to the place, they would be oblige to make use of such market.

“It is also important to let know that it is not all Lagosians that have the capacity to bulk purchase produce and store in their homes.

“There are some families that do not have the capacity to bulk purchase because they are daily earners, such people you know because of the lockdown, they are not able to get enough money.

“Those families can come here, buy few thing they need like beverages, vegetables, fish, bread, eggs and poultry products during this period. It is a typical grocery store like we have in other developed countries,

Lawal explained that the next markets dates are next Wednesday and Saturday this week just as he urged residents to take advantage of the markets and buy their food and other agriculture needs at the markets.

He explained that both the Ministries of Agriculture and Health have put in place safety guidelines at each of the food and agricultural markets but advised shopper to adhere strictly to safety measures and take the necessary precautionary measures of social distancing while shopping.

The Commissioner stressed that there was no need for any panic buying by members of the public particularly since the makeshift food and agricultural markets have been put in place by the State Government to ameliorate peoples’ suffering adding that officials of the Nigeria Police and Neighbourhood Watch would be on ground to ensure the maintenance of law and order.

Lawal explained that the chiefs of the fast moving consumer goods have since assured the State Government of their readiness to keep supplies flowing unhindered hence there is no need for any panic buying from shoppers.He therefore advised all residents of the State to take individual responsibility during this restrictive period by acting positively so that the chain of COVID-19 transmission could be broken in the State.

Ayomide Oyewole

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