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Lagos seeks private sector partnership to meet N5trn annual food demand

With an estimated annual food demand in excess of N5 trillion, Lagos State is beckoning on the private sector to join forces with the government to up local production against importation.

Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya who spoke at the weekend said the current administration has identified three key areas where the private can collaborate with the government for investment. These include the red meat value chain, artisanal fisheries and livestock feed mills under the five-year strategic agriculture roadmap of the state.

“We are the largest market Sub-Saharan Africa has. With over 22 million population, we consume food worth over N5 trillion annually and over N8 billion monthly.

According to her, such partnership with private investors will increase production, create jobs, standardise operations in the value chains and boost the GDP of Lagos.

“In line with the state’s five- year strategic agriculture roadmap we identified many investment opportunities, we want to explore private sector collaboration in the red meat value chain, artisanal fisheries, and livestock feed mills. The objective is to stimulate and encourage more public-private partnerships in the three value chains.

“What this also means is that we need to organise our market. This is the only way we can derive value. If as the largest market, we can enumerate properly that this is what we need for the state and this is what the transactional value should be, then we can begin to derive value and draw employment.

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Speaking further disclosed that in the red meat sector, the state consumes over 6,000 herds of cattle daily and over 1.8 million annually which is 50 percent of the red meat consumed in Nigeria. This, she said, shows that there exist a lot of opportunities to be tapped.

Olusanya pointed out that possible areas of collaboration in the red meat value chain were animal identification and traceability, the establishment of feedlot and fattening centres, creation of a better logistics solution system as well as the creation of a better system of running abattoirs in a standard way to meet up with global best practices such that more hygienic slaughtering areas are the norms rather than the exceptions.

Other areas of possible collaboration according to her include setting up of standardised meat shops; proper management of animal waste, biogas production, and transportation of the meat to the final consumers in a wholesome and hygienic way and condition.

The commissioner described the transactional value for cattle alone in Lagos to be worth over N328 billion, adding that when the red meat transformation agenda comes fully into play, it would help the state government eliminate logistics costs of transporting cattle.

Olusanya further stated that the state was working on harnessing sectors where it has a comparative advantage to further grow its economy with emphasis on the artisanal fisheries sector.

“We might be a very small state, but we are still agrarian. The value chain of comparative advantage to us is fisheries. It means that we can begin to harness potentials around the fisheries sector. Lagos has over 22 percent of the water bodies in Nigeria. For instance, we demand over 400,000 metric tons of fish on an annual basis but our fishermen and our aquaculture farmers are only able to produce just about 174,000 metric tons. It means I have a deficit of over 200,000 tons.”

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