World Food Day: Lagos seeks stakeholders’ support in agricultural transformation

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By Olayinka Olawale
The Lagos State Government has called on stakeholders to collaborate with the government in its transformative journey in the agricultural sector.

Ms Abisola Olusanya, the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, stated this at a news conference ahead of the 2023 World Food Day celebration on Tuesday in Alausa, Ikeja.

Olusanya said the collaboration was the key to delivering prosperity and well-being to Lagos residents.

She listed the projects undertaken by the government to include the Food Systems Transformation Agenda, Lagos Rice Mill, Agro Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) and Lagos CARES Projects.

Olusanya said others: Eko Agro Mechanisation Programme, Agricultural Training and Input Support, Fish Cage Culture System, Coconut Value Chain Development and Lagos Agric Scholars Programme and other special projects.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme for the 2023 celebration is: “Water Is Life, Water Is Food, Leave No One Behind”.

Olusanya noted that in 2021, the ministry had developed a five-year Agricultural and Food Systems Road Map to create the pathway for the achievement of 40 per cent self-sufficiency in food production by 2025.

She said the road map highlights plans to encourage youth participation, stimulate private sector investments and attract donor agency funding for agricultural projects.

She added that the road map would create new partnerships along the various agricultural value chains especially where the state has competitive and comparative advantages.

“Today, we can proudly present the initiatives of Lagos State in the agricultural sector which are the evidence of our unwavering dedication and the resilience of our farmers.

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“All of these efforts which put Lagos on the path towards a sustained development of its agricultural ecosystem are a collaborative journey.

“We, therefore, invite all stakeholders, investors, researchers, farmers, fishermen, agro-processors and donor agencies to join us in this transformative journey as it is a key to delivering prosperity well-being to Lagosians.

“Together, let us press forward on this path that redefines the significance of agriculture as the bedrock of Nigeria’s economic strength as this sector not only nurtures livelihoods.

“But also drives prosperity, contributing to the achievement of a greater Lagos rising,” she said.

Olusanya said the World Food Day marked on Oct. 16 annually to encourage action on food insecurity coincided with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) year of establishment.

She said all member countries of the FAO including Nigeria, annually participate in the events which focus primarily on the state of food security, issues behind poverty and hunger and efforts made to addressed the challenges.

“This year’s edition comes up amid serious food security issues occasioned by the effect of unstable exchange rate, climate change, environmental degradation loss of biodiversity and insurgency.

“These challenges have severely impacted the global supply of food which calls for intensified efforts towards building more sustainable food systems to scale food production and processing, reduce food wastage.

“It also provide decent livelihood opportunities for rural, peri-urban, and urban farmers, as well as ensure food and nutrition security for Lagosians.

“Ninety-five per cent of our food is produced on land and all begins with soil and water.

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“This year’s theme which aims to highlight the critical role of water for life on earth and water as foundation of our food, therefore, seeks to raise awareness on the importance of managing water wisely.

“Rapid population growth, economic development, urbanisation and climatic change threaten water availability,” she added.

Olusanya stressed that 40 per cent of fresh foods and vegetables, either grown or brought into Lagos annually are wasted resulting in the waste of precious resources.

“Agriculture alone accounts for 72 per cent of global freshwater withdrawals, while 16 per cent is used by municipalities for households and services and 12 per cent by industries.

“As you are all aware, Lagos State has the smallest land mass compared to other states of the federation, in Lagos, rivers and other water bodies constituting about 22 per cent of its territory.

“This peculiarity brings to fore the need for more coordinated strategies to further harness the water and marine potentials of the state,’’ she said.

Olusanya stressed the need to maximise the limited available agricultural land through efficient use of these water and land resources for a better water-food security system.

“Identifying and assessing solutions that jointly support water, food security systems are therefore critical as climate extremes and other stressors increasingly threaten access to water for all,” she said.

The commissioner highlighted activities lined up to mark the 2023 World Food Day in Lagos to include: road walk /sensitisation programme and schools’ agric quiz competition for public secondary schools on Oct. 12.

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“There will also be Farmers’ Forum, an interactive forum between the ministry, farmers and other stakeholders on October 13 at NECA House, Alausa. Ikeja

“The Grand Finale with Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the Special guest of honour would hold on October 16,’’ she said.

Olusanya, however, commended partners that had stood by the ministry over the years for their unflinching support in marking the World Food Day celebration in Lagos state a success.(NAN)

Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma

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