The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has revealed plans for the inauguration of the first phase of the largest food logistics hub in West Africa in 2024. This ambitious initiative aims to significantly enhance food security within the state.
Governor Sanwo-Olu made this announcement during a press conference held at the conclusion of the 2023 World Food Day celebration, which took place at the Nigeria Police College in Ikeja, Lagos.
Accompanied by Ms. Abisola Olusanya, State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Oluwarotimi Fashola, Special Adviser to the Governor on Rice Initiative, and members of the state executive council, Governor Sanwo-Olu inspected various agricultural products and produce on display at the event.
Notably, farmers from the 20 local governments and 37 local council development areas participated in the fair. The event, titled “Farm Fair, Shop, Eat and Learn,” commemorated the 2023 World Food Day, centred around the theme “Water is Life, Water is Food, Leave No One Behind.”
World Food Day, celebrated on October 16th, is an annual event organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to promote action against food insecurity.
Governor Sanwo-Olu spoke about the forthcoming food logistics hub: “Apart from the middle-level markets that we are building, we are constructing the largest food logistics hub in the whole of West Africa. You were part of the groundbreaking ceremony that we held last year, and I want to inform you that before this time next year, we should have completed the first phase of the project.”
Describing the hub, the Governor explained, “It is the largest logistics hub in the whole of West Africa, with cold storage and dry storage facilities. Our plan, as you may recall, began with our five-year plan, which will lead to middle-level markets. We have already constructed about three of them and are in the process of building five more.”
He emphasized that these middle-level markets will bridge the gap between the central hub and the local corner markets across the state. Governor Sanwo-Olu highlighted the importance of this integrated plan to ensure food sufficiency and adequacy in Lagos, as food security is becoming an increasing concern globally.
The Governor also encouraged more individuals to engage in rice cultivation to support the state’s rice mill in Imota, Ikorodu. He mentioned that the state’s rice mill still requires a substantial amount of paddy rice and emphasized the need to make food affordable and accessible.
In addition, Governor Sanwo-Olu expressed his administration’s commitment to supporting farmers and underscored the importance of urban farming in Lagos. Despite the limited available land, the government is encouraging farmers to continue their efforts, focusing on growing what they eat and eating what they grow.
The event’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, announced that farmers and farmer groups with exceptional produce would be recognized and awarded prizes. She acknowledged the dedication of farmers, fishermen, and processors from all corners of the state.
Dr. Femi Oke, Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Lagos and the South-West Zone, pointed out the challenges to food security, including insecurity, flooding, and inadequate funding in the agricultural sector. He urged both federal and state governments to allocate more funds to support farmers, reduce interest rates, and lower the prices of food commodities. Oke proposed government support for single-digit interest rates to benefit farmers and agro-processors.
The World Food Day celebration served as a platform to highlight the importance of agriculture and food security in Lagos and beyond.