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Food security: 10,000 Lagos farmers to benefit from World Bank assisted project

Some 10,000 farmers in Lagos State are slated to benefit from the World Bank assisted agricultural project.

The project- Agro-processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS) which involves training, is designed to build capacities of actors in the rice, aquaculture and poultry value chains.

It is aimed at attaining large scale production and processing of rice, eggs, poultry and fish and ultimately boost food production in Lagos, Gbolahan Lawal, the state commissioner for agriculture, said on Thursday.

Lagos, arguably Nigeria’s biggest city in terms of population (estimated at 21 million people), consumes a huge chunk of locally produced and imported foods in the country with its daily food consumption bill put at over N3 billion.

Giving more insight into how the farmers would benefit from the World Bank assisted project, Lawal said: “We expect 35 percent of the beneficiaries to be women while 10 percent would go to people with disabilities (PWD) and the rest 55 percent to youths.”

According to the commissioner, a total of 1,700 women and youths with interest in farming and agro processing have already been selected for the training and empowerment under the programme while 759 youths have been trained and prepared to be empowered with agricultural inputs in rice, poultry and aquaculture value chains.

Lawal, who spoke at a briefing to mark the first anniversary of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration, said the ministry of agriculture has developed a five-year (2019-2023) agricultural roadmap to enable it achieve its projected growth in the sector.

“The roadmap focuses on the development of agricultural value chains where the state has competitive and comparative advantages including the provision and availability of improved inputs, increased productivity and production.

The roadmap also addresses the issue of wholesomeness of food items, reduction in post-harvest losses, improving linkages with industry in respect to backward integration as well as access to financial services and markets.”

Lawal said these efforts were targeted towards increasing the state’s self-sufficiency from less than 20 to 40 percent of its food needs by 2023.

Speaking on other issues especially regarding wholesomeness of meat, the commissioner said government was committed to improving the red meat value chain through the establishment of standard operating procedures in processing, packaging and sales of red meat in the state.

The purpose, he said, was to ensure the provision of wholesome and hygienically processed beef for the populace, boost beef processing to international standards to facilitate export, and also stimulate foreign investment into the value chain.

To ensure the success of the reform initiatives, stakeholders, he said, are being engaged for adequate sensitisation of butchers, concessionaires and private operators of different abattoirs/slaughtering facilities and leaders of markets across the state.

“The development of the value chain is an all-inclusive exercise targeted at abattoir development, red meat transportation reforms and market upgrades,” Lawal said.

He added that the implementation of the reform strategies were immediate, intermediate and long term. The immediate strategies include identification and classification of abattoirs, butchers and markets using a colour code, linkage of EKO refrigerated meat vans to identified abattoir for supplies to the markets classified with codes accompanied with issued veterinary health certificate as evidence that the meat has been inspected.

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