To fully exploit the potential of the Lagos agric sector said to be worth N5 trillion and sustain it as growth driver of the state’s economy, operators in the formal sector must launch into it, Babajide Sanwowo-Olu, Lagos State governor has submitted.
Sanwo-Olu spoke, Thursday, at the flag-off of distribution of productive assets and inputs to some 3000 women, youths and vulnerable farmers under the 2021 Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme, which held at the Police College, Ikeja.
The governor said the private sector need to take advantage of the huge potential in the agricultural sector to boast Lagos annual revenue.
This, according to him, has become imperative as there remain untapped areas in the agricultural sector waiting to be exploited.
He said despite the strides so far made, the government alone would not be able to bring about the desired development in the sector hence the need for collaboration with the private sector.
“I am 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 T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda.
“The programme is a demonstration of the commitment of our administration to the development and expansion of the agricultural sector in Lagos State, especially with the available potential to enhance the quality of life and empowerment for the people. Indeed, our “farm to table” strategy in Lagos State has been as effective as other sectoral strategies in making Lagos a 21st century economy.
Speaking further, the governor said the determination to increase food production in the state from the current 20 percent to at least 50 percent of demand by 2025 has been emboldened with the disruption in the supply chain of food across the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and outbreak of zoonotic diseases.
The consequences of the disruption, coupled with the aftermath of the #endsars protests, he noted, impacted heavily on the cost and availability of food items, leaving less disposable income in the pockets of the average Lagosian.
He observed, however, that notwithstanding his administration’s strides and good intentions, the government alone cannot bring about the desired development in the sector.
Sanwo-Olu noted that the Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme was aimed at consolidating government’s efforts in the development and expansion of the state’s entire agricultural sector.
This objective informed the decision to redesign the programme as “Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme” to bring it to the sub-consciousness of beneficiaries that 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.
He believed that the programme 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.
Some 3000 women, youths and vulnerable Lagosians were, at the event, supported with 34 boats (each boat equipped with outboard engine, fish finder, nets and other fishing gear).
” In actual fact, 680 of them are being activated -We are working with a financial institution to draw up a financing structure for these beneficiaries (fishermen) to be saving part of the proceeds from the operations of the boats as equity for increasing the fleet for them.”
“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 N2 million for poultry inputs per beneficiary; 400 pig farmers are being supported with 1200 growers worth N48 million. This 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 womenand youth) empowered with 30 crates of eggs each valued at N50,000,” Sanwo-Olu disclosed.
Speaking earlier, commissioner for agriculture, Abisola Olusanya noted that since the inception of the programme in 2014, the a total of 13,976 beneficiaries have benefitted from the programme.
She explained that it was the desire of the government to help committed farmers to nurture their farming activities into viable and mature agricultural enterprises through a deliberate monitoring and control mechanism.