The Lagos State Government is partnering with the Kingdom of the Netherlands on Urban Farming to modernise the farming culture and practice as well as find solutions to the myriad of problems facing the agricultural sector.
Speaking at a Symposium titled: “Urban Farming: Feeding the Cities”, a networking event between the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and Kingdom of the Netherlands held at Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu noted that the collaboration will ensure availability of good quality planting materials and agricultural equipment for the farmers of the State and increase local production of leafy and fruit vegetables.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by his Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, added that the urban farming initiative has the potential of improving the food basket of the urban dwellers as it will reduce spoilage of foods due to long hours of transportation caused by vehicle breakdowns and lower the cost of transportation from rural to urban areas.
“It will provide our farmers with various agricultural inputs, technologies, equipment and other technical know-how that would stimulate aggressive and sustainable agricultural production”, he said.
While describing urban farming as adaptable and accessible, Governor Sanwo-Olu stated that it will also aid the provision of inexpensive fresh produce, particularly to low-income communities, build bonds by stimulating the economy and providing a mutually-beneficial experience, as it will reduce the need for huge capital outlay for land purchase etc.
He noted that the initiative will ensure that the citizens have a steady stream of income while overcoming the challenge of food scarcity and hunger, just as he expressed appreciation for the provision of the platform for the engagement of stakeholders in the Nigerian urban farming sector with special emphasis on the State.
The Governor disclosed that his administration has prioritised agricultural production thereby making Food Security one of the cardinal programmes of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda and a key strategy towards Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy. He averred that the government has embarked on various projects and programmes aimed at increasing food production as well as providing food security by laying more emphasis on areas where it has a comparative advantage.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, reiterated the State Government’s commitment to ensuring food security as it has set a target to increase the quantity of food produced and consumed from 20 – 24% to 40 – 50% by the year 2025.
She added that Lagos is known to be swift in the adoption of technology and innovative techniques that can provide substantial quantities of food for the populace despite the challenge of limited landmass being faced in different parts of the State.
In his remarks, the Deputy Consul-General, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mr. Arie Plieger, stated that the Kingdom of Netherlands is eager to work with Lagos State Government for innovation and sustainable agricultural growth.
“The Netherlands Government is ready to share its experience with the Lagos State Government for a fruitful collaboration. We are also ready to support Lagos and Nigeria in its ambition to become a sustainable smart house”, he said.