10th October, 2011
Lagos State is set to commence mass production of cassava and rice to feed its teeming populace, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperative has disclosed.
With N359 billion spent on importing cassava and rice by the Nigeria government annually, the Lagos State government says it is ready to take the challenge of meeting the food demands of the populace.
Speaking at the weekend in Lagos, southwest Nigeria at an event heralding the celebration of the World Food Day, Lawal said the government has concluded plans to deploy about 1.5 million people to embark on cassava farming in the state.
The United Nations had earmarked 16 October annually as World Food Day. The theme of this yearâ€™s celebration is Food Prices: From Crisis to Stability.
The event is primarily to focus on the state of food production and efforts of different sectors to meet challenges as well as celebrate the efforts and achievements of stakeholders.
â€œWe must be united against the threat of hunger and take collective, collaborative and coordinated action to ensure high quality food with stable prices,â€ Lawal said.
To fast track the process of food production in the state, the commissioner said the state government is at the verge of accessing a N1 billion loan facility from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to be given to farmers as loans.
He said the state government had decided to place agriculture on the front burner in its policy implementation, noting that the various agricultural programmes in the state were aimed at guaranteeing food security.
According to him, there is urgent need to redirect youthful energies in country by raising young farmers among them, adding that the state government would henceforth focus attention on the need to stabilise food prices.
Activities earmarked for the celebration included farmersâ€™ forum and quiz competition for young farmers, among others.