Lagos State Governor, Babajide Snawo-Olu, has said that the State Government would establish two food production centers in Epe and Badagry to be known as Lagos Food Production Centres in order to ensure sustained food production and supply in the State,
Sanwo-Olu who spoke in Lagos today at the symbolic distribution of agricultural inputs and productive assets to 2743 farmers under the 2020 agricultural value chains empowerment programme explained that the two centres would ensure the resuscitation, expansion, stocking of agricultural production facilities in various value chains.
Governor Sanwo-Olu who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Obefimi Kadir Hamzat noted that the two centers would also develop Agro-Tourism centres in Lagos State Songhai project in Badagry and the Agricultural Training Institute, Araga, Epe.
The Governor pointed out that in addition, The State Government would also establish the Lagos Aquaculture Centre of Excellence (LACE), a ten Billion Naira project to be located on a 35 Hectares of land in Igbonla in Epe under a Public Private partnership arrangement.
According to him, the project is designed to boost the growth and development of aquaculture industry in the State through the direct production of 2,000 tonnes of fish annually, provision of inputs to fish farmers under the Lagos Nucleus Farms (LANS) scheme and serve as off-taker for fish farm clusters in the State.
“The experience of the past few months during the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 Pandemic has further reinforced the urgent need to expand the State’s food production base to meet such spontaneous increase in demand for food in the future.
“In line with this realisation and to ensure sustained food production and supply in the State, we are establishing the Lagos Food Production Centres in Badagry and Epe. The two centres will ensure the resuscitation, expansion, stocking of agricultural production facilities in various value chains and also develop Agro-Tourism centres in Lagos State Songhai project in Badagry and the Agricultural Training Institute, Araga, Epe.
“In addition, we are also establishing the Lagos Aquaculture Centre of Excellence (LACE), a Ten Billion Naira (N10,000,000,000.00) project to be located on a 35 Hectares of land in Igbonla in Epe under a Public Private partnership arrangement.
“It is designed to boost the growth and development of aquaculture industry in the State through the direct production of 2,000 tonnes of fish annually, provision of inputs to fish farmers under the Lagos Nucleus Farms (LANS) scheme and serve as off-taker for fish farm clusters in the State,” the Governor opined.
Sanwo-Olu explained that Agriculture sector remains a key component through which the State Government intends to realize the “Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy” pillar of the T.H.EME.S agenda adding that some of the programmes that would make the realization attainable achieving food security, creating employment opportunities and wealth for farmers and all those who operate within the agriculture value chain.
He noted that the annual Agricultural Value Chain Empowerment Programme is one of the strategies designed to boost food production and supply through the provision of agricultural inputs and productive assets to farmers and other players in the value chain.
“This year’s edition is quite auspicious coming at a time we need to do a lot to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the productive capacity of our farmers and other actors within the agricultural value chain.
“Currently, our level of food self-sufficiency in Lagos State stands at about 20% leaving a deficit of about 80%, which is mostly accounted for by supplies from other States. Our goal is to achieve 100% increase in food self-sufficiency by 2023.
“We are committed to meeting this target with you as our key partner and through the implementation of our programmes, policies and projects which are aimed at maximising our comparative and competitive advantage in the agricultural space,” Sanwo-Olu averred.
According to him, some of the policies, programmes and projects are designed to improve the capacity of agricultural value chain actors, revolutionize agricultural productivity with the introduction of modern technology and best practices.
“The short, medium and long-term goals of these efforts include making the agricultural space attractive for private investment, improve the welfare and well-being of our farmers and sustainably ramp up food production and supply in the State.
“I am happy with the progress we are making in the implementation of the various projects and initiatives towards achieving our goal of 40% food self sufficiency in the State.
“Some of the flagship projects include the 32 Tons/hour rice mill in Imota which we hope to commission by December this year, the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme, the Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS), the Coconut Value Chain Development project, the Red Meat Value Chain project, the Fish Cage Culture Project among others,” the Governor said.
Earlier, the State Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya explained that agriculture was not only a major source of employment for Lagosians but also vital to the promotion of food security as it plays a crucial role in increasing quantity, quality and diversity of food supply which ultimately improves the nutritional status of the people.
She noted that the Empowerment was a means of channeling needed support to smallholder farmers who are actively engaged in the various Agricultural Value Chains thereby creating further wealth and job opportunities while delivering optimum economic benefits to farmers and other operators.
“The overall aim of the Agricultural Value Chains Empowerment Programme is to provide the necessary agricultural inputs and productive assets to farmers as a means of achieving improved food production and supply as well as delivering optimum economic benefits to farmers and other operators.”
“It therefore follows that interventions to enhance agricultural productivity would raise the income level of the rural population thereby creating further wealth in farming communities,” Olusanya averred.
The Acting Commissioner revealed that the Empowerment was not only targeted at farmers who are the direct beneficiaries, but also at service providers, transporters, input manufacturers and suppliers within the system whose services are required for the successful implementation of the project.
Olusanya disclosed that since the inception of the project in 2014, a total of 11,233 farmers, fishermen, butchers, processors and marketers have since been empowered.
Also speaking, a member of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Kehind Joseph called for the legislation of the Value Chain Empowerment Programme so that it could outlive every government bearing in mind the importance of the Programme in achieving food security in the State.
He, therefore, urged beneficiaries to make delicious use of the empowerment farm inputs.