Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal has called on stakeholders in the agriculture sector to treat agriculture as a combination of business and development platform by concentrating on Value Chains where the State has comparative advantage in order to develop strategic partnerships that will stimulate investment in the State.
Lawal who spoke in Lagos at the opening of an Agricultural Stakeholders Engagement also stressed the commitment of the State Government towards ensuring that the State attain food sufficiency as part of the Government strive in making Lagos State a 21st Century Economy that works.
He explained that the Stakeholders Engagement was convened in order to promote what he termed the “predict and provide syndrome” in policy decision making in governance adding that the contributions and inputs of major stakeholders are important towards the attainment of the State Government THEMES Agenda in the agricultural Sector.
According to the Commissioner, the role of Ministry of Agriculture in the THEMES agenda include the need to ensure food security & Improved nutrition for the over 22 million Lagosians; wealth and employment generation with inclusive participation of youth and women; create enabling environment for private sector investment and the institution of policies that support sustainable agri-business practices.
The Commissioner explained that the goal of job and wealth creation is to train 15,000 people with the expected outcome of creating capacity to serve consumer demands and with an expected output of large scale dissemination of productivity-increasing capacity program and increase investment into enabling infrastructure and capacity building.
“A State with food security and improved nutrition will no doubt achieve sufficiency in comparative advantage of food staples and sufficient market infrastructure that will also ensure competitiveness thereby being the catalyze flows of agricultural finance through increased partnerships with multilateral and donor agencies.” he noted.
Lawal urged the Stakeholders to come up with strategies that would move the key agricultural value chains in the State to the top as well as the need to leverage human capital in creating world class products and an enabling agri-business environment.
“I have no doubts in mind that this will lead to increase IGR for the State Government on one hand as well as leverage potential of other states and access to the Lagos markets. A Well funded private sector capable of scaling emergent agri-business successes will lead to increased inclusivity and sustainable practices,“ the Commissioner noted.
He listed some of the current initiatives of the State Government in the sector as including the establishment of the 32 Tons per hour Rice Mill at Imota, the Lagos –Kebbi States Collaboration on Rice Value Chain Development; Agricultural Based Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric-YES ); Agric-YES Songhai Model ; Farm Estates Initiative – Fishery, Poultry, Piggery and Vegetables; Quality Input Supply with Robust Business Model and the collaboration with Development Partners such as World Bank assisted Project (APPEALS), DAWN Commission and CBN among others.
Earlier in her address of welcome, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya commended the stakeholders at the engagement session for heeding the call to collaborate with the State Government in developing the roadmap that will guide and reshape the role of Agriculture in Lagos State.
She noted that the Stakeholders Engagement is a pointer to the readiness of the State Government to revitalize the already existing and introduce new technology based initiatives to achieve food security, improved nutrition, employment generation, improved economic prosperity through a combination of business and social development platforms in partnership with the private sector.
“As you might be aware, the administration of His Excellency is committed to the delivery of making Lagos a 21st century economy –one of the six pillars of the THEMES agenda. Part of the levers towards achieving this great vision is active stakeholders’ engagement in identifying the needs of Lagosians and active and collective participation in solution delivery and sustainability,” she averred.
Participants at the stakeholders’ engagement include farmers, bureaucrats, members of the private sector, agri-business entrepreneur, financial institutions like Zenith Bank, Ecobank, Central Bank of Nigeria, Sterling Bank and Bank of Agriculture among others and dealt on issues such as Governance, Innovation and Technology, Agri-business among others.
It is also expected to address some of the challenges and opportunities in the agricultural sector and come up with a 5-year road plan for the agricultural sector in the State.