Appolonia Adeyemi And Muritala Ayinla
The Lagos State Government would produce of 200,000 metric tones of rice through its collaboration with Kebbi State by 2017. Special Adviser to the state Governor on Food Security, Ganiu Okanlawon, disclosed this in Lagos, while briefing journalists on the forthcoming maiden Lagos Food Security Summit. He said the state through the partnership would produce 51,000 metric tone by December this year.
The government, which also promised to acquire more parcels of land, said those already acquired in Ogun, Osun States and Abuja have already been put into use. He said the growing population of Lagos calls for pragmatic step to ensure that population growth doesn’t threaten food security in the state. He said that the price of rice produced by the state government in collaboration with Kebbi State would be affordable since the rice is locally made without payment of duties, adding that the when produced, the rice would also be more nutritious than the imported.
The Special Adviser noted that that the summit is being organised to institutionalise a food security framework that would guarantee sustainable food security for its growing population. The summit billed for the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos from Thursday, November 10 to Friday, November 11, 2016, is designed to realign emerging realities with new global trends on food safety, food processing, food storage, food handling, funding of agribusiness and agric insurance,” he said.
Okanlawon added that the summit with the theme ‘Actualizing Sustainable Food Security in Lagos: A New Comprehensive Agenda’ will attract major stakeholders from the agricultural sector and academia as well as prospective foreign and local investors, media, civil society and policy makers in government.
He said: “The Summit is expected to provide a veritable platform for discourse on various investment opportunities in agriculture and agro-allied business in the State with the aim of stimulating private investment in the sector and ultimately optimise its vast agroprocessing and agro-allied potentials.”
Okanlawon while stressing the need to urgently plan for sufficient and sustainable food production in Lagos noted that State being the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria with about 45 per cent of the nation’s skilled population and the tendency for increased population growth due to rural-urban migration, need to plan not just for now but for the future.
He added that in spite of its limited space, the State possesses vast agricultural investment potentials waiting to be tapped or optimised stressing that the present administration of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode had in the last one year embarked on various innovative agricultural and agro-allied programmes and projects geared towards ensuring food security in the State.