• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Lagos to hit 25% food production by 2018

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Lagos State is working towards meeting 25 percent of its food requirement by 2018, Gbolahan Lawal, commissioner for agriculture and cooperatives, has said.

Lawal, who unfolded the activities lined up for the 2014 World Food Day, last week, said the 25 percent target was part of measures to ensure that “growing population of Lagos does not depend solely on imports from other states or outside the country.

“We started by producing 5 percent of our food. We are now producing 10 percent. We are now targeting 25 percent by 2018. The target may be difficult but we are working on it.

“We are working on a value chain, such as fish production, livestock production and others. We have demonstrated that we can achieve the target. We have been developing our fish estates, vegetable estates and poultry farming. There are lots of commercial farming coming on board and I see us getting to meet the target in the next four years.”

The state currently produces 159,000 metric tons of fish per annum, he said, adding that with more private sector involvement, this figure is bound to rise.

According to him, aside acquisition of mass land in Osun, Oyo, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for agricultural purposes, Lagos is also embarking on other projects that are expected to boost food production.

“In 2010, we were able to produce 109,000 metric tons of fish. At the end of December 2013, we were at 159,000 metric tons. The demand for fish in Lagos is 220,000 metric tons. Fish production nationally currently stands at 800,000 metric tons but the demand is 2.4 million metric tons.

“On rice, Lawal said the demand is huge, and Nigeria would benefit a lot if private investors partner with the Lagos State government to boost rice production,” he said.

He disclosed that from the last Maputo Declaration, it was agreed that African government should target 6 percent annual increase in food production in their territories on the premise that each country could earmark 10 percent of its annual budget for agriculture.

“When you consider the capacity for the demand, Lagos consumes 50 percent of what is being brought into Nigeria. That is what informed the decision of this administration to establish rice mill. So, we believe that with the support of private sector, we will be able to boost food production more.

“As government, we have demonstrated the possibility of increasing food production and we have been producing through our rice mill. So, it is now left for the private sector to support us so that we can reduce the foreign exchange expended on importation of foods into the country,” he said.

JOSHUA BASSEY