Lagos promises to increase food supply

Luqmon Balogun, Lagos

The Lagos State government in south-west Nigeria has restated its commitment to increase the aggregate food supply of the state from less than 15% to 25% within the next four years through various projects and programmes.

The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Toyin Suarau made the statement while giving account of achievements of the Ministry of Agriculture at a press briefing to commemorate the first year in office of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led government.

“As part of effort to increase food supply and ensure food security in Lagos State, the State Government through the Ministry of Agriculture is vigorously implementing the State’s Strategic Food Security Plan with programmes and projects that have remarkable impact on food security in the State,” The Commissioner said.

Mr. Suarau said that “the aggregate food supply internally is less than 15% of total food consumption and the State is poised to increase this to 25% within the next four years.”

The Commissioner explained that the State has continued to intensify efforts in the agricultural areas where it has comparative ecological and socio-economic advantages, despite its high industrialized status, population density and pressure on land for non-agricultural purposes.

This areas according to him include fisheries, livestock and vegetable production as well as agro-processing with emphasis on value addition”.

He maintained that the State government was not relenting in its Rural Finance Institution Building Programme and School Agricultural Programme stressing that more areas such as Agricultural Extension Services and animation to improve farmers’ productivity would be covered.

Achievements so far
Highlighting the achievement of the State government in the agriculture sector, Suarau said that the series of agreements have been signed towards increasing food supply and ensuring food security in the state.

“Some of the programmes and projects intensified in the last one year include; collaboration between Lagos and Kebbi States for the development of agricultural commodities like rice, wheat, ground-nut, onions, maize/sorghum and beef value chains; Agric Youth Empowerment Scheme (AGRIC-YES) Araga, Epe; and continued establishment of infrastructural facilities at SonghaiAvia, Badagry under the Agricultural Youth Empowerment Scheme,” he said.

He pointed out that rice cultivation has improved in the State as a result of engagement of farmers and youth in the sector.

“In furtherance of the Ministry’s effort to engage youths and boost rice production in the State, a total of 100 farmers through the FADAMA III additional financing programme have been settled on the 500 hectares of land acquired in Eggua, Ogun State and through this, rice cultivation has so far improved in the State.”

The Commissioner also reiterated the government’s commitment to address the issue of declining land for agricultural activities, encroachment by land speculators as well as promoting the utilization of agricultural land for its intended purposes.

Suarau also commended the National Fadama Development Project which has continued to assist small scale farmers and other groups along the rice value chain in the provision of production assets, infrastructure, capacity building and advisory services.

Supporting Agriculture
The Commissioner emphasized that the State government has supported farmers through the activities of Lagos State Agricultural Input Supply Authority (LAISA) by making sure that required inputs are made available to farmers and fisher folks timely at affordable price.

He reiterated that LAISA has supported in the distribution of over 1,500 bags of fertilizer, hybrid maize and agrochemicals to crop and vegetable farmers in the State; 4,000 bags of fish feeds to fish farmers and 80 units of poultry battery cages to Poultry farmers.

Ongoing projects
Mr. Suarau stressed that the Ministry intends to set up two major Abattoirs at Epe and Ojo Local Governments in addition to the one at Oko Oba, adding that the development of mini modernised abattoirs in five approved locations Ilaje- Bariga, Ikorodu, Agbowa, Matori and Oto- Awori through Public Private Partnership arrangement has commenced.

“Matori Abattoir has been completed and slaughtering activities has also commenced while Ikorodu and Ilaje is about 80% completed. The dislodgement of illegal slaughter slabs is also being vigorously pursued by the Ministry with Igando, Oke Afa and Ejigbo slaughter slabs recently dislodged”, he said.