The Association of Food and Agro Processors (AFAP) says it has evolved mechanisms to assist Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) drive Lagos State into a food processing hub for local and export markets.
Mr Duro Kuteyi, National President of AFAP, made this known at the Lagos State MSME Exclusive Fair on Wednesday in Lagos.
Kuteyi said that the aim of AFAP was to work in line with the state’s agenda for food sustainability in Nigeria by reducing post-harvest losses.
“We have trained more than 5,000 youths, women, retiring staff of Lagos State and widows.
“We hope Lagos State will continue to patronise our association as we also train retirees toward accessing AGSMEIS loan of N10 million from the Central Bank of Nigeria/NIRSÀL,” he said.
According to him, various agricultural products end up in Lagos markets, and that they should not be subjected to post harvest loss.
“The Federal Government has already done so much to generate interest in farming by providing funds to encourage individuals and organisations to embrace the business of farming.
“However, not much has been done in the areas of food and agro processing, preservation and packaging.
“Therefore, as an association (AFAP), we are advocating and pushing strongly for the government to look toward developing this sector, and this will ensure food security for the nation,” he said.
Kuteyi said that AFAP would like to collaborate with the state government to establish a white rice processing line in the state.
“The white rice will be another raw material for both MSME and large industries
“It will serve as a boost to Made-in-Lagos products as MSMEs will have continuous and consistent raw materials to make rice flour, ground rice, snacks, baby food, breakfast cereal, biscuits, among others,” he said.
According to him, AFAP will also partner the Lagos State in the establishment of briquette factories to reduce incidence of fire hazard in the state.
Kuteyi said that AFAP would hold a workshop to sensitise stakeholders on imported intermediate raw materials that could be locally produced, using available technologies to process them.
He said that the workshop would also create awareness and harness the available raw materials in Nigeria.
The president said that this was to reduce the outflow of foreign exchange on importation of semi-finished raw materials for large and multinational industries.
Kuteyi urged the government to collaborate with AFAP as it promotes “Made-in-Lagos Products” by securing maximum protection for MSME products and provide easy registrations with SON, NAFDAC and other agencies. (NAN)