The Lagos State Government has said it will provide support for businesses providing alternative feed solutions for poultry and fish farmers in the state to scale.
The poultry and fish industries have been under tremendous pressure for several years owing to the continuous surge in feed prices, which accounts for 70 percent of farmers’ production costs.
Abisola Olusanya, the state’s commissioner of Agriculture who made this known at the Lagos Food Systems Stakeholders Breakfast Meeting yesterday, said that farmers cannot continue to rely on imported feeds for their birds and fish owing to FX volatility.
“We are looking at alternative feeds for our farmers and see how we can support the businesses providing this solution to scale,” Olusanya said.
“As long as we don’t have adequate feed meals and adequate inputs, the cost of feed for farmers will continue to climb and as the dollar rises, it will also increase,” she said.
She stated that a firm is currently cultivating black soldier fly as an alternative feed for farmers, urging farmers to use it as a substitute while addressing the high costs of feed.
Giving an overview of the state’s five-year Agricultural Food Systems Roadmap launched in 2021, said the state government will set up more Feedlot Systems, the establishment of Butchers Academy and the creation of a last mile meat shop.
She noted that under the plan for 2023-2025, the state will go live on eight projects which include, the Central Logistics Hub, Lagos Aquaculture Centre for Excellence (LACE), capacity building for horticultural stakeholders and full operations and capacity building for stakeholders in Lagos Food Production Centres.
Others are the execution of state-wide interventions, the greenhouse establishment, backward integration projects, Green Wall initiatives, the agricultural value chain enterprise activation programme, and the Lagos cares initiative.
Speaking also, Rotimi Fashola, special adviser to the governor on agriculture said Lagos targets to process about 100,000 metric tons of paddies this year, noting that the state has partnered with Niger and Kebbi to get farmers to grow rice on a large scale on behalf of the state.
He said the cost of rice production in the country is increasing daily, as most rice mills run on diesel, noting that Lagos is working to have an alternative source of power for the mill that is cheaper.
Fashola said the state is still subsidising a bag of rice but not as low as Lagosians would want because of the high cost of production.
According to him, Lagos consumes two million tons of paddies which is over 24 million bags of rice and the Imota Rice Mill can only do 200,000 tons of paddy which is 2.4 million bags.
“We will try that as much as possible. Most Lagosians will have a bit of our rice produced at Imota Rice Mill. We will ensure we meet 40 percent of the rice needs of the state,” he said.
Emmanuel Olotu, chairman of Lagos State House Assembly Committee on Agriculture called on stakeholders to boost their agricultural productivity in the state to drive food security.
He commended the state’s agric ministry for spearheading projects that allow them to share in the activities that will shape the food system in the state in 2024.
Our shared goal should be the development of a resilient and efficient food system that benefits farmers, consumers and the state.