Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Thursday rolled out massive agricultural investment that empowers 3,000 urban and rural farmers in key sectoral value chains.
Women, youths and peasant farmers were the main beneficiaries of the 2021 Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme through which the state government is supporting agripreneurs with modern equipment and inputs that would help them make significant difference and scale up their agricultural practices.
Various groups of farmers, in their numbers, thronged the parade ground of the Police College, Ikeja to personally receive the material support from the governor, accompanied by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and members of the State Executive Council.
The scheme is also a component of the Sanwo-Olu administration’s five-year Agricultural and Food System Development Roadmap recently launched to chart a coordinated path for the desired development of the sector and boost food security.
The beneficiaries were selected for the scheme through a merit-based system anchored by independent associations of farmers across the State.
The support was majorly for agripreneurs in poultry, piggery and artisanal fishery – the three sub-sectors largely affected by the disruption occasioned by Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Sanwo-Olu noted that the intervention was necessitated by the need to raise food production, processing and marketing, while also creating jobs and sustaining the livelihood of the farmers through value creation.
He said: “This 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, which is driven by a farm-to-table model that aligns with our goal of making Lagos a truly 21st century economy.
“We are determined to increase food production in the State from the current 20 per cent to at least 50 per cent by 2025 and this effort has been emboldened, given the observed disruption in the supply chain of food across the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the outbreak of zoonotic diseases.
“We have emerged wiser and more determined to succeed in creating and nurturing a viable agribusiness sector in Lagos.
“The state government has put in place a strategy for the proper utilisation and continuous maintenance of the assets being donated to derive maximum value from them.
“We are also working with a financial institution regarding appropriate financing structures for the guaranteed sustainability of the programme.”
Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, said the state government had not only restructured the projects for greater impacts, but also changed the name to transform the mindsets of beneficiaries not to see the initiative as entitlement and largesse from the Government.
She said the programme would help committed farmers to nurture their businesses into viable agricultural enterprises, pointing out that the Government had created a monitoring mechanism to keep track of the beneficiaries’ activities.
Oniru of Iru Kingdom and immediate past Commissioner for Agriculture, Oba Gbolahan Lawal, praised the Sanwo-Olu administration for raising the investment for the scheme, which the monarch described as “inclusive empowerment”, as the intervention was extended to farmers in urban areas.