The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Oluwatoyin Isiaka Suarau has reiterated the present administration’s commitment to scale up its food sufficiency from the present 12 to 25 percent within the next three years as part of efforts towards ensuring food security in the State.
The Commissioner made this disclosure in Alausa while presenting achievements of the Ministry of Agriculture in the last one year, during the 2017 Annual Ministerial Press Briefing held at the Bagauda Press Centre, Alausa to commemorate the second year anniversary of the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
He said that the State government is making additional arrangements for a rice milling plant that would produce 16 metric tonnes of rice per hour by December, adding that the State’s plan is to go beyond production of 10,000 metric tonnes of rice per annum.
Commenting on the distribution of LAKERICE, Suarau assured Lagosians that the current distribution plan by the State government, through designated outlets, is a temporary measure to regulate distribution of the rice and prevent the process from being hijacked by unscrupulous elements who would resell at exorbitant prices.
He further disclosed that meetings have been held with Distributors’ Associations who would eventually aid making the product easily accessible, stressing that the ultimate goal is to make the product available in the open market for Lagosians.
The Commissioner said investment in rice production is not just an interventionist programme but a project that was planned to be continuous, permanent and sustainable especially with the planned 16 metric tonnes per hour rice mill.
According to him, the government is equally encouraging private sector operators to invest in rice processing to boost production in the State.
He also revealed that the present administration intends to give Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) to farmland owners in the State as part of plans to intensify food production, adding that farmers can also obtain business loans from the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.
Enumerating further on the State’s plan towards food security, he disclosed that the State has acquired hectares of land in other States for farming.
In his words: “Lagos has acquired 500 hectares of land in Eggua, Yewa Local Government of Ogun State for rice production of which 125 hectares had been cultivated with the rest available for potential investors. 84.6 hectares of land has also been acquired in Okini, Oshogbo in Osun State for palmoil and cassava plantation, while processing mills for production at the place are already on ground.”
“50 hectares of land for cattle rearing and cattle fattening has also been acquired in Kuje, Abuja” he added.
The Commissioner said economic and physical access to sufficient, safe, nutritious and wholesome meals is the goal of the government, adding that the Ministry has contributed massively to job creation via training and empowerment of youths, women and men, thereby reducing poverty in the State in the past two years.