Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, has called on farmers in the state to brace up to fill the expected gap in food supply to the state next year.
She made the call at the graduation of the third batch of 50 beneficiaries under the aquaculture, poultry and rice value chains training on accessing second level financing.
The training was organised by the Lagos State Agro-Processing Productivity, Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support, APPEALS.
APPEALS is a tripartite project of the World Bank, Federal Government and Lagos State for small scale farmers.
Olusanya said 2021 will be a tough year in terms of food security in the south-west as other regions will be competing for food meant for the region.
“ with the insecurity in the Northern part of the country, the farmers are not going to farms, so how do you expect to get the food to come from?”
She added that as farmers they should be ready to fill the gap and see farming as a business by cultivating more food.
“We should see agriculture as a source of business and not a retirement job.”
She said as a state that they will continue to support farmers across the different value chain.
“We will continue to facilitate training and collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and other multilateral agencies.
“ The Lagos State Agro-Processing Productivity, Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support, APPEALS, is doing that.”
The commissioner urged the participants to spread the knowledge gained to their colleagues so that the state becomes a major food hub in the country.
Speaking earlier, the APPEALS State Project Coordinator, Mrs Oluranti Sageo-Oviebo, said
250 beneficiaries were selected for the training conducted in partnership with the Africa Leadership Forum, ALF, with the theme: “Entrepreneurship Accessing Single Digit CBN Agro-Credit and Export Readiness.”
She said “We have five batches, 50 persons per batch, totalling 250 beneficiaries by the end of December. The criteria for selecting the trainees were farmers who benefited under the CADP and are doing very well, and also some women and youth who benefited and are doing very well.
“We will be facilitating and ensuring that farmers do not get into financial contracts that they will not be committed to, we will not leave them on their own, we are ready to support them all the way through.
“The truth is, we cannot support everybody with a grant under this project, so for those we feel we cannot support based on the scale of their farms and all of that, we decided to bring them out and asked them to attend this training.
“Then we looked at farmers who had the potential for the export market because it is not everybody that can get into the international market; so, that was another criteria we looked at,” she said.
According to her, after the training, the project will work closely with the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) and the Export Promotion Council on certification and export opportunities.
She said: “We will not stop there, for export we know that certification is key and that is part of what this project is looking at.
“We are looking at clusters and possible ways of satisfying them as a project, and we are not working in isolation; we are doing alliance, like farmers with processors and then the market. This is where we are partnering with EDI, Export Promotion, NAFDAC and other regulatory agencies.