Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday said the government is in the process of acquiring an estimated 32,000 hectares of farmland for rice cultivation in seven states.
Sanwo-Olu, who spoke in Lagos, on the occasion of this year’s Grand Finale of the World Food Day in Lagos, listed the states to include Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and Kebbi as well as Lagos.
He noted that a key component in the food security programme of the state government is the 32-metric ton per hour capacity Integrated Rice Mill in Imota, which is expected to be completed and commissioned in the next seven months.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Folasade Jaji, noted that when completed, the mill would ensure sustainable supply of wholesome rice at an affordable price to the populace in Lagos and help to reduce rice importation into the Nigerian economy.
He noted that the theme for this year’s celebration with the theme: “Our Actions Our Future: Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World,” spoke to the need for a collective action towards not only increasing food production, but also ensuring that adequate attention was paid to the quality of food being consumed.
Sanwo-Olu added that the theme aptly highlighted the state government’s efforts through the food security initiative and commitment to prevent the consumption of unwholesome food.
“Today, we are happy to join the rest of the World in celebrating this year’s World Food Day. This annual celebration being spearheaded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, is about raising awareness on issues related to food such as poverty and hunger and to highlight efforts being made by governments, institutions, organisations and individuals to mitigate the negative effects on people,” he said.
The governor said that the only way to effectively fight poverty and hunger in the country wass to boost agricultural production and prevent post-harvest losses and wastage, which he said constituted a major threat to the achievement of food security objectives.
While noting that the use of Reusable Plastic Creates [RPCs] as alternative to Raffia baskets for the carriage of perishable farm produce is being promoted as a strategy to minimize wastages in the State, the Governor enjoined farmers and traders in the State to embrace this new initiative for improved profit.
“We have to imbibe the lessons learnt from the dwindling returns from oil to encourage family participation in farming so that most of our basic needs could be met locally and we would be independent of others to feed ourselves. We have also put this to practice in our schools where we have established different farming enterprises to train and teach the students in modern farming techniques,” Sanwo-Olu explained.
According to the governor, Lagos State is one of the participating states in the World Bank Assisted APPEALS Project aimed at enhancing the agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and improved value addition along priority value chains.