As part of efforts aimed at boosting the production of rice in Lagos, the State Government has announced plans to expand the rice mills at Imota from 2.5Metric tonnes per hour to 16Metric tonnes per hour while at the same time encouraging private sector operators to invest in rice processing.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Oluwatoyin Suarau disclosed this on Tuesday at the 2017 Ministerial Press Briefing of the Ministry of Agriculture to commemorate the second year in office of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led administration in Lagos State.
He said as part of effort to increase food supply and ensure food security in Lagos State, the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture was vigorously implementing the State’s Strategic Food Security Plan with programmes and projects that have a remarkable impact on food security in the State.
He pointed out that the collaboration between Lagos and Kebbi States on the development of commodities such as Rice, Wheat, Ground-Nut, Onions, Maize/Sorghum and Beef has yielded positive fruits resulting in launch of LAKE Rice on 21st December, 2016.
“The product has since the launch being on sales at various centers across the state. So far, a total of 32,647 bags of 50kg; 32,539 bags of 25kg and 30,780 bags of 10kg have been sold,” Suarau noted.
The Commissioner added also that no fewer than 100 farmers through the FADAMA III additional financing programme were producing rice at Itokin in Epe Local Government in furtherance of the State government’s effort to engage youths and boost rice production in the state.
“In all, rice cultivation has so far improved in the State from less than one ton per hectare to about three tons per hectare with double cropping in some areas where irrigation facilities are provided”, he said.
Suarau while restating the commitment of the Akinwunmi Ambode led administration towards the attainment of food security in the State said that Food Security was in the front burner of the present administration policies to facilitate job and wealth creation as well as poverty reduction.
According to him, some of the programmes and projects intensified in the last one year to ensure food security include; the Agric Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric YES) which had trained over 500 youths and the continued establishment of infrastructural facilities at Songhai-Avia, Badagry under the Agricultural Youth Empowerment Scheme.
The Commissioner revealed that the State government was intensifying efforts to establish additional farm estates in Eluju-Mowo and igbodu respectively to foster public-private partnership arrangement adding also that effort to set up a cattle fattening estate in Imota through public-private partnership was on course.
“This Estate Initiative is subsequent to the effort of government to address the various challenges facing agriculture in the State such as declining land for agricultural activities, encroachment by land speculators as well as promoting the utilisation of agricultural land for its intended purposes,” he said.
He said that the State government had continued its advisory services to farmers and fisher folks across the state through the farm service and entrepreneurship centre.
He added that the farm service centre approach had been very helpful in providing assistance in all technical areas of agriculture and building capacity for interested farmers, school leavers, retirees and professionals intending to invest in Agriculture.
Suarau stated that the State government is also not relenting in its Rural Finance Institution Building Programme and School Agricultural Programme adding that the State is strengthening its Agricultural Extension Services and animation to improve farmers’ productivity while the Cage Culture system which has the potential of contributing to poverty reduction through improved food security, enhanced protein consumption, income generation and job creation is accorded the desired priority.
Speaking in the same vein, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Food Security, Mr. Ganiyu Sanni Okanlawon said the State government was committed to work with the private sector to facilitate food security by harnessing Public and Private investment to create a strong, mixed sector economy that can provide jobs for all and create the base for expanding social services and environmental sustainability.
He said “agriculture has the highest demonstrated potential for job and wealth creation and it is against this background that the agricultural sector should be one of the key instruments of achieving this laudable dream.”
Okanlawon noted that State government will develop the Coconut value; strategic initiatives to develop an expanded structure for Coconut production and processing in the State through Public Private Partnership arrangement as a means of generating employment, wealth creation and food security.
The Special Adviser who reiterated that the Lagos State government was passionate about the issues of food security and investment in the agriculture sector said that the State government will give incentives such tax relief and ensure a conducive business environment for prospective investors in the agriculture sector.
“In order to redress the food security challenges of the State, the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture hosted a world-class Food Security Summit to attract organisations that seek to partner with the State government in the realization of the Food Security Agenda,” he said.