By Funmi Falobi
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode said that 1,252 farmers have been empowered by the State Government under its agricultural value and empowerment programme aimed to reduce poverty in the State.
Ambode who made this known at the flag off ceremony of the 2018 Agricultural Value Chains Empowerment Programme noted that the 1,252 farmers in the state have been supported in various farming enterprise and empowered to boost their productive capacities in line with the State’s food security objective.
The governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Oluwatoyin Suarau stated that the programme is a strategic approach employed by the state government to enhance productivity and improve standard of living of small holder farmers, fishermen, agro processors and marketers through the provision of inputs, productive assets and capacity building so as to ensure the steady supply of food to Lagosians.
He noted that food security became a major challenge as a result of the drastic decline in oil revenue stressing that it has now become imperative to conserve foreign exchange by reviving the agricultural sector through policies and programmes that will encourage more people to go into farming and increase food production.
Ambode added that the state government as a matter of policy has ensured that basic infrastructural facilities are evenly distributed across the state especially in rural communities despite the fact that most farming activities are based in the rural and semi urban areas.
“Our objective is to make our communities liveable and centres of economic activities. This strategy we believe will reverse the trend of rural to urban migration and also make farming more attractive especially to young people,” he said.
While stressing that his administration is committed to ensuring food self-sufficiency for the teeming population through well designed and thought initiatives, the governor said that his administration will not relent in its effort to encourage farming activities in the rural communities by reducing the infrastructural gap between rural and urban centres.
He added that the State Government has procured a 32 metric tons per hour rice mill to sustain the production and processing of local rice in the state which will create over 500,000 jobs in form of manpower to operate the mill directly.
Earlier in his address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya explained that the state government through various farming enterprises which include egg marketers, piggery, butchery, poultry production, vegetable production, perishable produce trading, sheep and goat production, aquaculture, fish feed input, artisanal fisheries and fish processing is working towards food sufficiency .