The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has reiterated the commitment of the State Government towards changing the face of the various agricultural estates and farm settlements in the State in order to boost production and encourage youth participation in agriculture.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed this on Thursday at the maiden edition of the Ecobank Agribusiness Summit in Lagos.
He noted that efforts have already started towards achieving this goal through the recently concluded appraisal of the current state of these estates.
He pointed out that the focus of the State Government was geared towards developing agricultural value chains in which the State has competitive and comparative advantages with a view to ensuring that it attains self-sufficiency in food production and moves from the current 18 per cent to 40 per cent by 2025.
He said: “Towards achieving these goals, the State, through the Ministry of Agriculture, has prepared a strategic plan to collaborate and partner with stakeholders in policy review, formulation and implementation, database collation and upgrade; capacity building with special focus on youths and women; public private partnership to establish companies and processes to boost and sustain agricultural productivity in fisheries, poultry, piggery, red meat, coconut, rice and vegetables value chain by adopting appropriate technologies in line with global best practices.”
The Governor, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, explained that the State Government was also collaborating with development partners like the world Bank to implement various agric-based projects in the State.
He said the Agro Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Support Project is one of such projects that would empower no fewer than 10,000 farmers in the State in the next four years.
He said: “All these initiatives and several others being promoted by this administration are meant to encourage private sector participation in the agric sector. It is very important that we pay special attention to the agricultural value chain because it is only through the value chain that we can maximise the potentials in the sector.”
Sanwo-Olu explained that the importance of this value chain cannot be overemphasised as it produces entrepreneurs who transform the primary produce into secondary and finished products through the activities of small scale industries.
He commended the management of Ecobank Nigeria for initiating the maiden edition of the Agribusiness Summit, stressing that any gathering of stakeholders in the sector would indeed add value to the ongoing efforts at transforming the sector through the development of new ideas and perspectives.
The Governor also commended the Bank for demonstrating its commitment with the N70 billion financing scheme in support of the growth and development of the agric sector and by extension the nation’s economy, just as he hoped that the outcome of the Summit would go a long way in facilitating the transformation process of the agriculture sector in Nigeria.