L-R: The Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Tourism ,Arts and Culture, Mr. Bonu Solomon Saanu; the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat and the Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya at the year 2020 Agricultural Value Chains Empowerment Programme held at the Police College Ikeja Lagos today.

Lagos State Government is set to establish a N10 billion Aquaculture Centre in Igbonla, Epe under a Public Private Partnership arrangement.

Speaking on Tuesday at the symbolic distribution of Agricultural Inputs and Productive Assets under the 2020 Agricultural Value Chains Empowerment Programme at the Police College, Ikeja, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who spoke through the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat disclosed that the project named Lagos Aquaculture Centre (LACE) is designed to boost growth and development of aquaculture industry in the State through the direct production of 2,000 tonnes of fish annually.

He added that the project which will be located on a 35-hectares of land in Igbonla, Epe, also aims to provide inputs for fish farmers under the Lagos Nucleus Farms (LANS) Scheme and serve as off-taker for fish farm clusters in the State.

Speaking further, the governor stated that the Agriculture sector remains a key component through which his administration intends to realize the “Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy” pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda.

He emphasized that some of the objectives the government aim to achieve with agriculture under the broad agenda include food security, creating employment opportunities for the youths and wealth for farmers and all those who operate within the agriculture value chain.

Sanwo-Olu said that the annual agricultural value chain empowerment programme was one of the strategies designed to boost food production and supply through the provision of agricultural inputs and productive assets to farmers and other players in the value chain.

Commenting on the desire of the administration to impact food sufficiency, the governor said, “Currently, our level of food self-sufficiency in Lagos State stands at about 20% leaving a deficit of about 80%, which is mostly accounted for by supplies from other states. Our goal is to achieve 100% increase in food self-sufficiency by 2023. We are committed to meeting this target with you our key partner and through the implementation of programmes, policies and projects which are aimed at maximizing our comparative and competitive advantage in agricultural space.”

He expressed happiness with the progress the state is making in the implementation of the various projects and initiatives towards achieving food self-sufficiency in the state.

He said, “The experience of the past few months during the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic has further reinforced the urgent need to expand the State’s food production base to meet such spontaneous increase in demand for food in the future;”

“In line with this realization and to ensure sustained food production and supply in the state, we are establishing the Lagos Food Production Centres in Badagry and Epe. The two centres will ensure the resuscitation, expansion, stocking of agricultural production facilities in various value chains and developed Agro-Tourism Centres in Lagos State Songhai project in Badagry and the Agricultural Training Institute, Araga, Epe,” said.

In her welcome address, the acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Bisola Olusanya stated that the overall aim of the programme is to provide the necessary agricultural inputs and productive assets to farmers as a means of achieving improved food production and supply as well as delivering optimum economic benefits to farmers and other operators.

She added that the programme is also a means of channelling the needed support to smallholder farmers who are actively engaged in the various agriculture value chains, thereby creating further wealth and job opportunities.

The Acting Commissioner added that since inception of the programme in 2014, a total of 11,233 farmers, fishermen, butchers, processors and marketers have been empowered and 2,743 beneficiaries will be empowered this year with various agricultural inputs and productive assets in addition to the existing 2,896 farmers that have already been empowered through the distribution of Maize and Sorghums as palliatives for their live stocks and farming activities.

She noted that Agro Productive Processing Enhancement Activities and Livelihood improvement Support programme, APPEALS, will support thousands of farmers across the poultry, aquaculture and rice value chains.

She, therefore, urged recipients of the support to make judicious use of the facilities being distributed by the state government.