Lagos State Government has said that its Eko City Farmers’ Market will enhance agricultural supply in the State by connecting all the value chains with their markets.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, who disclosed this in Lagos over the weekend, noted that the Eko City Farmers’ Market is a platform where the best of Lagos producers will meet with consumers and end-users employing the traditional and innovative development methods to showcase a well organised, high-quality market that meets consumers’ ever-increasing demand for farm produce.
Lawal explained that the maiden edition would hold in Lagos next Sunday at the Tafawa Balewa Square and subsequently hold on the last Sunday of every month, noting that the Market would help rebuild the local food economies by providing a cost-effective, retail sales prospect for local food producers in Lagos State and across the South-Western States.
“The notable objectives of the Eko City Farmers’ Market include providing Lagosians access to a wide variety of fresh, local, in-season farm products direct from the producers; making Lagos the most desirable destination for businesses with direct socio-economic impact and beneficial returns; creating an avenue to further champion regional integration through composite economic development and leveraging on the existing relationship with the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission to coordinate the participation of other States”, the Commissioner explained.
He added that the market would also provide an informal social gathering place in an open-air setting for the community where the market is situated.
“A conspicuous feature of the Eko-City Farmers’ Market is its inclusive model which epitomises the farmers and the final end-users as its focus; a situation that promotes productivity and profitability. In addition, the Eko City Farmers’ Market is also a veritable avenue for Lagosians to buy the popular LAKE rice on a monthly basis”, Lawal averred.
According to the Commissioner, the Eko City Farmers’ Market would go a long way in helping to achieve six of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Wellbeing, Decent Work and Economic Growth and Responsible Consumption and Production.
Lawal listed some of the benefits of the Market to farmers as including the provision of the infrastructure to support farmers to create a flourishing market in a well-maintained, safe and innovative trading environment as well as connecting them to the final end-users, thus making shopping an entertaining and educational experience.
He emphasised that the central location of the market makes it easily reachable by public transport due to its proximity to the BRT corridor, noting that it is also accessible for farmers and primary producers who intend to supply volumes of food to all classes of customers, whether single shoppers or families.
The Commissioner observed that the Market would also enhance public health as it strengthens food safety by providing a healthier environment with basic infrastructure and facilities in the markets, just as it would help restructure the farmers’ market sector to ensure increased income for people engaged in farming.
“Each market day shall be dedicated to a South-Western State, offering her the opportunity to display those produce/products she is identified with in terms of production and such edition shall be called Lagos/Oyo day, Lagos/Ogun day etc, as the case may be, thereby promoting regional integration. In addition to the above, we shall also be dedicating any market day that falls within any of the festive periods such that we shall be having the Easter, Ileya, Ramadan and Christmas editions”, he said.
He also disclosed that leveraging on the activities of the DAWN Commission, farmers across the South-Western States will be mobilised and made to ensure strict adherence to the protocols in order to foster regional integration and economic prosperity”.
The Commissioner, therefore, appealed to Lagosians, CDCs, CDAs and Cooperative Societies to take advantage of the opportunity of the Eko City Farmers’ Market by visiting the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos on Sunday 23rd, February 2020 and, subsequently, every last Sunday of the month to buy produce at farm-gate prices from the farmers.