Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has called on stakeholders and private investors to join hands with the state government in efforts to boost food production and ensure food security in the state.
Sanwo-Olu made the call in Lagos at the 2020 World Food Day celebration on Sunday, just as he reiterated its administration’s commitment towards the attainment of food security in the state.
The governor, represented by the Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, noted that the state government had increased investment in the empowerment of women and youths in the agricultural sector.
He said that the policy was aimed at boosting food production, creating employment opportunities, alleviating poverty and improving income generation.
“We are committed to ensuring steady and sustainable increase in food production through the various policies being implemented.
“We are also doing this through programmes 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 on the empowerment of women and youths along the agricultural value chains,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu noted that human survival was hinged largely on the agricultural sector, as it was the source of food supply which was needed for the effective functioning of 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 agricultural and agriculture-based products with their markets in a well-organised, high-quality market environment to meet the citizens’ ever increasing demand for fresh farm produce,” he added.
The governor noted that World Food Day had been recognised by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to raise public awareness on the issues of hunger and food shortage in the world.
Sanwo-Olu said that the celebration was also aimed at highlighting efforts being made by governments, institutions, organisations and individuals to mitigate 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 over-emphasised.
“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 of the state government to promote the growth of the agricultural sector and ensure sustainable food supply for nourishment of the citizens.
He reiterated the commitment of the state government towards the completion and inauguration of a rice mill with 32 tonne-per-hour capacity by the first quarter of 2021 to further boost his administration’s desire to achieve its 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 22 million people in Lagos State and for all Nigerians as a whole.
“The mill will further create 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 steady and sustainable increase in food production.
Besides, Sanwo-Olu said that state government recently empowered 2,743 farmers, including agro-processors, fishermen, butchers and marketers, with agricultural inputs and productive assets under the 2020 Agricultural Value Chains Empowerment Programme.
He added that 10 solar-powered kiosks, produced by the APPEALS Project, were similarly given to farmers in the programme.
Earlier, the Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Olusanya, said that state government was focusing intensely on the adopting of various technologies that would enable farmers to farm all year-round and engender food security in the state.
Olusanya, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Olayiwole Onasanya, noted that the celebration of the World Food Day would help in spreading awareness about the crucial needs of effective agriculture.
She said that the celebration also highlighted the need to promote food sufficiency for everyone.
The World Food Day is celebrated on Oct. 16 every year by over 150 countries and international organisations with focus poverty alleviation and food security such as IFAD and WFP, among others.