Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos state has urged investors in the private sector to tap opportunities in the state’s agricultural sector which currently generates N5trillion to its annual revenue.
The governor made the call on Tuesday at the flag-off of the distribution of productive assets and inputs to no fewer than 3,000 women, youths and vulnerable Lagosians under the Y2021 Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme held recently at the Police College, Ikeja.
He explained that the call becomes imperative because there are a lot of untapped potentials in the state’s agricultural sector waiting to be exploited.
According to him, despite the numerous strides and gestures, the government alone would not be able to bring about the desired development in the sector hence the call for collaborations with the private sector.
“I am therefore delighted that the flag-off of the distribution of agricultural productive assets and inputs under the 2021 Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme is another milestone in fulfilling our electoral promises to the people with regards to food security and our THEMES agenda,” he said.
“The program is a clear demonstration of the commitment of our administration to the development and expansion of the agricultural sector in the state, especially with the available potential to enhance the quality of life and empowerment for the people,” he further said.
“Indeed, our ‘farm to table’ strategy in Lagos State has been as effective as other sectoral strategies in making Lagos a 21st-century economy,” he added.
He stated that the state’s target to increase food production from 20percent to 50percent by 2025 has been emboldened with the supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic.
He noted that the consequences of the disruption, coupled with the aftermath of the #ENDSars protests, impacted heavily on the cost and availability of food items leaving less disposable income in the pockets of the average Lagosian.
Sanwo-Olu said that the Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme was aimed at consolidating the government’s efforts in the development and expansion of the state’s entire agricultural sector.
He opined that the objective informed the decision to redesign the program as “Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme” to bring it to the sub-consciousness of beneficiaries that the government was only activating and starting business ventures for them as they are expected to nurture such ventures to maturity that would be sufficient enough to sustain their livelihood.
The governor pointed out that the program would help reduce unemployment particularly since it would have domino effects on a beneficiary as for every one beneficiary, there would be a minimum of four indirect beneficiaries.
“Today, our administration is supporting 3,000 women, youths, and vulnerable Lagosians with 34 boats.”
“190 youths and women are being supported with fish cages, fish juveniles, medication, and fish feed; 300 Lagos Agripreneurship Trainees are being supported with aquaculture/poultry inputs/assets with an average value of N500,000 for aquaculture support and N2million for poultry inputs per beneficiary;400 pig farmers are being supported with 1200 growers worth N48m.
This, according to him is aimed at cushioning the ravaging effects of the African swine fever and Covid-19.
Also, 50 units of smoking kilns (for 10 fish processors/kiln) with 500 of them benefiting; other farmers (Women and youth – 217) with inputs for both aquaculture and poultry; market women (353 women/youth) empowered with 30crates of eggs each valued at N50,000, he said.
Sanwo-Olu added that beneficiaries would also utilize tractors, harvesters, threshers, destoning machines, and accompanying implements in some farming communities across the agricultural zones of Badagry, Epe, and Ikorodu towards land clearing and mechanization for higher productivity and improved food production.
Sanwo-Olu stated that the tools would be operated under a ‘call-for-resource’ model known as Tractor-on-the-Go thereby ensuring proper utilization and continuous maintenance of the assets.
He disclosed that his administration took due cognizance of food security as a necessary tool of governance which has informed the adoption of a proactive approach to the situation by developing strategies and initiatives that would enhance and ensure food security in the state.