The Lagos State Government has assured farmers in the State of its continuous support just as its appreciated the myriad of problems they (farmers) faced in the process of getting their produce to the consumers.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal who spoke in Lagos Tuesday at a Farmers’ Forum organized by his Ministry in commemoration of this year World Food Day noted that the State Government has consistently been creating an enabling environment for optimum food production.
The Commissioner who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya explained that the essence of the Farmers’ Forum was to interact with stakeholders in the farming sector most especially farmers in order to get feedback from them about the various Government’s interventions as well as complaints.
He added that the feedback would guide and help government formulate and initiate new projects and programmes that will enhance agriculture development in the State.
Lawal averred that agriculture cannot be developed without the active participation and support of farmers hence the “bottom up approach” the State Government is adopting adding that government does not want to assume to know what the farmers need but get the true picture from the people who feel the problem.
According to the Commissioner, from the interactions with the farmers, key issues such as land encroachment, processing of produce, market for the produce, youth empowerment and technology have been identified to be the most pressing issues confronting them.
He revealed that 1,700 youths and women farmers have been assisted under the Agro Processing Productivity and Livelihood Enhancement Empowerment Support (APPEALS) project adding that there is still need to reach out to more farmers through what he referred to as Technology and Extension.
The Commissioner reminded the farmers of the theme of this year’s World Food Day which is ‘’our actions are our future: healthy diet for a zero hunger world’’ and urged them to ensure they produce nutritious food for the public.
He said that the World Food Day is celebrated annually by the United Nations and that Nigeria is no exception stressing that this year’s celebration will ensure that the theme is given the necessary attention it deserves as all the activities for the celebration were in line with the creation of a sustainable system of agriculture in the State.