… 120 Fishing, Farming Clusters Across 57 Councils To Benefit

The Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture has launched its free distribution of agricultural inputs and production assets to 20,000 farmers in 120 farming and fishing clusters across the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas of the State.

Speaking at the flag-off of the scheme held recently at the Secretariat of Ikorodu Local Government, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya said the initiative was part of the comprehensive plan of the State Government to drive food security by supporting farming and farmers to thrive.

She said a needs assessment was conducted by officials of the Ministry to get the view of farmers as to the required production assets to boost farming, and that the inputs distributed were as a result of their responses.

According to her, “The 2022 Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation and Farmers’ Support Programme, which is being flagged off today, is designed to provide agricultural inputs and production assets to 120 fishing and farming clusters/communities across the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas of the State”.

“In all, over 20,000 fisherfolks and farmers will benefit from the programme while budgetary provision has been made to accommodate a larger number of Value Chain Actors in the 2023 edition of the programme. I express profound appreciation to Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, the Governor of Lagos State for his immense support to agricultural development in the State”, Olusanya stated.

She said the attainment of food security had consistently been a major policy thrust of the Sanwo-Olu administration given its relevance in promoting the health and well-being of citizens and the achievement of the State Government’s T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda, especially the fourth Pillar of Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy.

She said, “In this regard, the Ministry developed a Five-Year Agricultural and Food System Roadmap to galvanise public, private, and donor agency efforts in the development of agriculture in the State’s economy. The Roadmap also provides solutions for the wholesomeness of food items, reduction in post-harvest losses, and improving linkages with the industry concerning backward integration as well as access to financial services and markets. This is expected to scale food production from 20% demand to the projected 40% by the year, 2025”.

While pointing out that in furtherance of the roadmap various programmmes and projects were designed and implemented to facilitate the attainment of the vision, create jobs, and promote livelihood sustenance for the Value Chain Actors, the Commissioner averred that the key challenge is the ageing farmers and fishermen population and catching the interest of youths to take to agriculture as a profession.

To this end, she said, the Ministry partnered with innovative companies to introduce technology in agriculture, especially the upstream sector, adding that this is evidenced by the recently launched Tractor-on-the-Go project which is a tractor-hailing service designed to facilitate easy and affordable access to mechanisation services through applications installed in mobile phones and integrated agricultural projects implemented in the state secondary schools tagged: “Lagos Agric Scholars Programme” to stimulate the interest of school children in agriculture.

“Other youth-centred efforts include the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme to train 15,000 youths with a passion for agriculture of which 3,000 has been successfully trained and plans are being put in place to train an additional 1,200 youth this year. Aside from these, this Administration has trained 51,476 and empowered 29,353 women and youth in different agricultural value chains, such as the Cage & Pen Culture, Poultry, Rice Production, Snailery, Bee Keeping, Coconut Arts & Craft amongst others, using various government platforms”, Olusanya said.

Speaking earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Dr. Oluwarotimi Fashola said the Farmers’ support programme commenced in 2014, and that a total of 16, 466 farmers, fishermen, agro-processors, butchers, and marketers have so far benefited with corresponding impacts on agricultural productivity.

He urged beneficiaries to make the best use of the inputs received towards the overall development of Agriculture in the state.

In his remarks, the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Shotobi lauded the initiative, saying it would go a long way in promoting farming and bringing about sufficiency in food production.

He particularly commended Governor Sanwo-Olu, Commissioner Olusanya, and the Ministry of Agriculture for supporting farmers with critical equipment, assuring that more would be distributed by the state government.

On his part, the Chairman of Ikorodu Local Government, Hon. Wasiu Adesina said he was delighted that such a laudable project was launched in Ikorodu, just as he appreciated Governor Sanwo-Olu and the Ministry of Agriculture. He, however, advised farmers to improve their seedlings and farming method.

One of the beneficiaries, Mr. Akin Sokehinsi, who is an Aquaculture farmer from Oke-Ado, said farmers were appreciative of the various initiatives of the state government to create a conducive atmosphere for them to thrive.