World Food Day: Lagos Advocates Better Water, Lands Usage

Kunle Adelabu

-Unveils celebration programmes

In preparation for the 2023 World Food Day Celebration, the Lagos State Government has called for efficient ways of maximizing water, marine and available land resources to ensure food and water security in the state.

Honourable Commissioner, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, made the appeal on Tuesday, at the press briefing organized by the Ministry in commemoration of the 2023 World Food Day Celebration, held at the Conference, Ministry of Agriculture, Alausa Secretariat.

This year’s celebration is themed, “Water Is Life, Water Is Food, Leave No One Behind”.

She highlighted programmes lined up for the celebration, which is slated for every October 16.

“As you are all aware, Lagos State has the smallest land mass compared to other States of the federation, with lagoons, rivers and other water bodies constituting about 22% of its territory”, Ms. Olusanya said.

“This peculiarity brings to fore the need for more coordinated strategies to further harness the water and marine potentials of the state, and also maximize the very limited available agricultural land through efficient use of these water and land resources for a better water-food security system.

“Identifying and assessing solutions that jointly supports water, food security systems are, therefore, critical as climate extremes and other stressors increasingly threaten access to water for all”, the Commissioner added.

Olusanya said that the food crisis facing the world called for more concerted efforts and sustainable ways of ensuring that food production is improved upon and wastage is drastically reduced, with Lagos as her focus.

“This year’s edition with the theme, “Water Is Life, Water Is Food, Leave No One Behind”, comes up amid serious food security issues occasioned by the effect of unstable exchange rate, climate change, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, insurgency especially in the nation’s food production regions, and violent conflicts across the world”, she said.
“These challenges have severely impacted the global supply of food which calls for intensified efforts towards building more sustainable food systems to scale food production and processing, reduce food wastage, provide decent livelihood opportunities for rural, peri-urban, and urban farmers, as well as ensure food and nutrition security for Lagosians.

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She said that this year’s celebration is geared towards sensitizing and raising awareness of the importance of water to life and food sustenance and the need to make judicious use of it.

“95% of our food is produced on land and all begins with soil and water. This year’s theme, which aims to highlight the critical role of water for life on earth and water as foundation of our food, therefore, seeks to raise awareness about the importance of managing water wisely as rapid population growth, economic development, urbanization, and climatic change threaten water availability”, Ms. Olusanya said.

“Agriculture alone accounts for 72% of global freshwater withdrawals, while 16% is used by municipalities for households and services, and 12% by industries.

“Also, about 40% of fresh foods and vegetables, either grown or brought into Lagos annually are wasted, resulting in the waste of precious resources such as water that are used to produce them”.

Ms. Olusanya, who started with the administration of Gov. Babajide Sanwo –Olu, in his first term, first as the Special Adviser and later as the Commissioner for Agriculture, speaking on the efforts of the state government in ensuring food security, said that the target of the state’s 5 – year agric plan is to double the present 20% food production by 2025.

“In 2021, the Ministry developed a 5-year Agricultural and Food Systems Road Map to create the pathway for the achievement of 40% self-sufficiency in food production by 2025, against the present 20% food production level”, she said.

“The Road Map highlights plans to encourage youth participation, stimulate private sector investments, attract donor Agency funding for agricultural projects, and create new partnerships along the various agricultural value chains, especially where the State has competitive and comparative advantages.

She listed Food Systems Transformation Agenda, Lagos Rice Mill, APPEALS and LagosCARES Projects, Eko Agro Mechanization Programme, Agricultural Training and Input Support, .Fish Cage Culture System, Coconut Value Chain Development and Lagos Agric Scholars Program among others, as some of the initiatives of Lagos State in the agricultural sector, as efforts being embarked upon to improve food production in the state.

The Honourable Commissioner at the briefing, unveiled programme of activities for this year’s celebration of the World Food Day, which are: Press Briefing by the Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture, Road Walk/Sensitization by the Ministry of Agriculture, Collaborating with Invitees, Schools’ Agric Quiz Competition for Students in the State’s Public Schools, Farmers’ Forum, an interactive forum between the Ministry of Agric, Farmers and Other Stakeholders and Grand Finale with Governor Babajide Sanwo – Olu as the Special Guest of honour, on Monday, October 16, 2023.

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