The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo – Olu, has stated that a project that would be the largest Food Logistics Hub, would be completed next year, and address the issue of food security in the state.
Sanwo – Olu, who is the Special Guest of Honour at the 2023 World Food Day celebration in Lagos, organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, also said that when completed, the hub would make food affordable and accessible to the people.
The celebration, which started a week ago, was celebrated in a grand style at the Police College Playing Ground, GRA, Ikeja, on Monday, with members of the Lagos State Cabinet and Body of Permanent Secretaries in attendance alongside other guests.
This year’s edition of the annual celebration was themed: “Water is Life, Water is Food; Leave No One Behind”.
Farmers from various Local Government Areas of Lagos, who were supported by the State Government through Lagos APPEALS Project, exhibited their produce at the Fair, and offered reduced prices for bulk purchase of their crops. They were also joined by representatives from Agric officers from various Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas, and other stakeholders in the sector.
A major activity of the event was the parade by farmers and other representatives from various councils, agric associations and professionals, that marched with their produces and products, passing through the podium where the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin, (FICMC, MCArB), who stood in for the Governor after his exit, Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Olusanya, Special Adviser on Agric, Mr Fashola, Head of Service, Mr Agoro Olapade, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Olatokunbo Emokpae and others, acknowledged cheers from them.
As the State population grows, Sanwo-Olu said there is need for collaborative efforts and innovation to sustainably scale up agricultural production to meet demand, while improving food supply chain and security.
The completion of the Food Logistics Hub next year, the Governor said, would centralise the State’s food supply from the farm to the markets where consumers would buy at affordable prices. He said the facility is being developed with capacity for long-term storage to reduce waste and loss.
“It is another year of commemoration of the World Food Day. For us in Lagos, it is to celebrate and appreciate our resilient farmers, while also bringing up a conversation on need to begin to ensure that food is affordable and accessible. It is important to note that the current economic situation has made the prices of food to go up, but I believe with deliberate interventions that will bring the market closer to the consumers, we can help to bring down the food prices”, Sanwo – Olu said.
“As part of our efforts, we are currently building the largest Food Logistics Hub in West Africa, in addition to middle level markets we are opening across the State. By this time next year, we would have completed the first phase of the project. The Logistics Food market will be the central hub through which all farm produce will come into Lagos. The facility has cold and dry storages from which food will be supplied to the middle-level markets and where products go to the retail shops.
Sanwo-Olu said the Logistics Hub was part of a “robust, integrated” plan of his administration to ensure food adequacy and sufficiency. Other initiatives, he said, focused on equipping farmers to raise productivity, and supporting the market in order to make food affordable for the end consumers.
The Governor said despite the deficiency of land in Lagos, the State had been showing the way in urban farming in areas, such as aquaculture, piggery, fishing, poultry, vegetable and fruits production. He reiterated his commitment towards providing infrastructure and creating incentives for farmers to meet residents’ nutritional needs.
Sanwo-Olu, who said that the Lagos-owned Imota Rice Mill hardly received adequate paddy rice from its collaboration from other states to meet production capacity, called on independent paddy rice farmers to collaborate with Lagos in order to sustain the rice production.
“Farming is an important component of our Government’s activities. We need to grow what we eat, and eat what we grow. While we have collaborated with some major agricultural states within the country, we are also looking for independent paddy rice farmers across the federation to raise paddy supply to Lagos Rice Mill. We need a lot of paddies to meet up with production capacity. It doesn’t matter the tonnage of paddy rice they have, we are ready to take it up. This is calling on paddy growers across the country to key into this opportunity,” he said.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, noted the event was held in the wake of critical food security issues which required urgent actions to scale up food production across the various value chains.
“The World Food Day is an annual event which is celebrated all over the world on 16th October, being the anniversary of the founding of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN). The day is set aside to encourage action on food insecurity, promote the production and consumption of safe food which have an immediate and long-term benefit on the people, the planet and the economy at large”.
“This year’s edition with the theme Water is Life, Water is Food, Leave No One Behind, comes up in the wake of serious food security issues which requires urgent actions to scale production across the various value chains.
Presenting the farmers to the Governor, Olusanya commended them for their efforts in ensuring that foods are available for Lagos.
“Present at today’s event, Mr. Governor, are farmers, fishermen, and processors from the entire length and breadth of the State. These farmers have put in a lot of work in their different value chains to feed Lagosians and as the saying goes, no farmer, no nation”, she said.
Special awards were presented to three farmers and agric professionals in recognition of their efforts towards the sector.