Not less than three billion Naira goes into the consumption of food items on a daily basis in Nigeria’s commercial capital city of Lagos.
Against this backdrop, investors willing to do business in the agricultural sector in the State have been assured of a ready market and returns on investment within a reasonable time frame.
The State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, who gave this assurance at the maiden edition of the Lagos Food Security and Exhibition Summit, said government remained committed to maximising its comparative advantage in the agricultural sector to achieve food security.
With the theme “Actualizing Sustainable Food Security in Lagos State: A New, Comprehensive Agenda’,” Governor Ambode stated that the nation had no business importing food to feed its citizens.
He stressed that there was no alternative to achieving food security other than farming and embracing best practices that would improve efficiency in the agricultural value chain.
According to him, “Our core policy thrust towards achieving food security is to maximise the comparative advantage of the State in agriculture and establish partnerships with other States of the Federation with comparative advantage in specific areas.”
He reiterated that his administration had sealed a landmark partnership with Kebbi State government for the development of agricultural commodities such as rice, wheat, groundnut, onion, maize and beef value chain, expressing optimism that the partnership could result in the supply of 70 percent of the total national rice consumption.
“We have also acquired agricultural land in other neighbouring States of Ogun and Oyo as well as Abuja, specifically, 500 hectares of farm land has been acquired for rice cultivation in Eggua, Ogun State, 84.7 hectares at Okinni in Oshogbo for oil palm processing, among others,” the Governor said.
The Governor explained that the Lagos Food Security Summit and Exhibition was organised to bring together stakeholders in the agricultural sector to proffer solutions to the challenges militating against the achievement of food security.
Also, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Food Security, Mr Sanni Okanlawon, noted that that the summit was being organised to institutionalise a food security framework that would guarantee sustainable food security for its growing population.
Focus of summit
Mr Okanlawon said the summit was designed to realign emerging realities with new global trends on food safety, food processing, food storage, food handling, funding of agribusiness and agric insurance.
He noted that it would attract major stakeholders from the Agricultural sector and academia, foreign and local investors, media, civil society and policymakers in government.
Chairman of the Summit, Sani Dangote commended the Governor Ambode-led administration for leading being in the forefront in addressing the challenge of food security, saying that the State boasted of a large population with an economy ranked as the fifth largest in Sub-Saharan Africa, a bulging youth population and capital
of the nation’s industrial base.
Sanni, who is the Vice President of the Dangote Group, said despite the shortage of arable land in the State, the State Government could leverage on its comparative advantages to guarantee food security.
“The State Government could leverage on its comparative advantages to guarantee food security in the State as well as feed the other southwest states of the country,” he hinted.
He said the State had the capacity to make agriculture a profitable business to encourage youths to take up agriculture as a profession thereby contributing their quota towards achieving food security.