Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has reiterated the commitment of the State Government towards changing the face of the various agricultural estates and farm settlements in the State in order to boost production and encourage youth participation in agriculture.
Sanwo-Olu, who disclosed this today at the maiden edition of the Ecobank Agribusiness Summit held in Lagos, noted that efforts have already started towards achieving this goal through the recently concluded appraisal of the current state of the estates.
He reiterated that the State Government is focussed on enhancing its competitive and comparative advantage in agricultural value chains towards the attainment of self-sufficiency in food production and moving from the current 18% to 40% by 2025.
“Towards achieving these goals, the State, through the Ministry of Agriculture, has prepared a strategic plan to collaborate and partner with stakeholders in policy review, formulation and implementation, database collation and upgrade; capacity building with special focus on youths and women; public-private partnership to establish companies and processes to boost and sustain agricultural productivity in fisheries, poultry, piggery, red meat, coconut, rice and vegetables value chain by adopting appropriate technologies in line with global best practices,” Sanwo-Olu averred.
The Governor, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, explained that the State Government was also collaborating with development partners like the World Bank to implement various Agric-based projects in the State, stressing that the Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Support Project (APPEALS) is one of such projects which would empower no fewer than 10,000 farmers within the next four years.
“All these initiatives and several others being promoted by the present administration are meant to encourage private sector participation in the Agric sector. It is very important that we pay special attention to the agricultural value chain because it is only through the value chain that we can maximise the potentials in the sector”, the Governor opined.
Explaining the importance of the agriculture value chain, the Governor maintained that it produces entrepreneurs who transform the primary produce into secondary and finished products through the activities of small scale industries, hence the government’s resolve to boost the sector.
He commended the management of Ecobank Nigeria for initiating the maiden edition of the Agribusiness Summit, stressing that any gathering of stakeholders in the Agric sector would, indeed, add value to the ongoing efforts at transforming the sector through the development of new ideas and perspectives.
The Governor also commended the Bank for demonstrating its commitment with the N70b financing scheme in support of the growth and development of the Agric sector and by extension the Nation’s economy, just as he expressed optimism that the Summit will initiate ways to facilitate the transformation process of the Agric sector in Nigeria.