Sanwo-Olu charges private sector to explore potentials in agriculture

Sanwo-Olu driving a tractor

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu: drives a tractor during the Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme held at the Police College, Ikeja.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu: drives a tractor during the Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme held at the Police College, Ikeja.

By Nimot Sulaimon

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has called on the private sector to take advantage of the huge potentials in the State’s agricultural sector which boast annual revenue of N5Trillion.

Sanwo-Olu made the call today at the flag-off of the distribution of productive assets and inputs to no fewer than 3000 women, youths and vulnerable Lagosians.

He explained that the call becomes imperative because there are a lot of untapped potentials in the State’s agricultural sector waiting to be exploited.

According to him, despite the numerous strides and gestures, the government alone would not be able to bring about the desired development in the sector hence the call for collaborations with the private sector.

“Today marks exactly 762 days since our administration entered into a social contract with Lagosians towards the attainment of the “Greater Lagos” of our dream.

”I am therefore 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 Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme is a clear 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.

“Our determination to increase food production in the State from the current 20% to at least 50% 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, impacted heavily on the cost and availability of food items leaving less disposable income in the pockets of the average Lagosian.

“I must state that in spite of our numerous strides and good intentions, government alone cannot bring about the desired development in the agricultural sector.

”Thereby, I urge the private sector, to take advantage of the huge potentials in Lagos State Agricultural sector which currently boasts of an estimated annual transactional value of Five Trillion Naira,” the Governor stated.

Sanwo-Olu noted that the Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme was aimed at consolidating the government’s efforts in the development and expansion of the State’s entire Agricultural sector.

He opined that the 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 the 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.

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The Governor pointed out 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.

“Today, our administration is supporting 3000 women, youths and vulnerable Lagosians with 34 Boats (each boat is equipped with an outboard engine, fish finder, nets and other fishing gear which will be given to a group of 20 youths each as a cooperative society).

”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 N2M for Poultry inputs per beneficiary;400 Pig Farmers are being supported with 1200 growers worth N48m. 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 women/youth) empowered with 30crates of eggs each valued at N50,000,” he averred.

Sanwo-Olu added that beneficiaries would also utilize tractors, harvesters, threshers, destoning machines and accompanying implements in some farming communities across the agricultural zones of Badagry, Epe and Ikorodu towards land clearing and mechanization for higher productivity and improved food production.

The Governor stated that the tools would be operated under a ‘call-for-resource’ model known as Tractor-on-the-Go thereby ensuring proper utilization and continuous maintenance of the assets.

He disclosed that his administration took due cognizance of food security as a necessary tool of governance which has informed the adoption of a proactive approach to the situation by developing strategies and initiatives that would enhance and ensure food security in the State.

Sanwo-Olu, therefore, urged all beneficiaries to judiciously utilize the assets received as business enterprises and ensure they contribute their quota into upscaling domestic food production in the short-term whilst harnessing their growth potentials towards assuring food sustainability and exportation in the medium to long-term.

Speaking earlier, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya noted that since the inception of the Programme in 2014, 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.

Olusanya noted that team accountability has been put in place in order to ensure the proper utilization of assets which has resulted in the collaboration with Ecobank for the fisheries value chain and the MSME Accountant Initiative of the State Ministry of Finance for the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (LAP) and Agricultural Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric-YES) beneficiaries.

“All these strategies are in addition to the window of opportunities that will be created for youth engagement as articulated in the Lagos State Agricultural and Food Systems Roadmap over the next five years.

“In the long run, it is envisaged that these efforts and many others in the agriculture ecosystem will enable the State transit from being a food consumer State to a major food producer especially in fisheries, piggery, poultry production and coconut value chains where the State has a strong comparative and competitive advantage,” the Commissioner asserted.

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