The Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, says the state government is directly identifying about 10,000 farmers to benefit from the 200 million dollars World Bank agricultural intervention fund in the state.
Hamzat said this when he hosted the World Bank team on Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS) led by Dr Amin Babaji in his office at Alausa, Ikeja.
The deputy governor said that out of the 10,000 farmers, 35 per cent would be women while 10 per cent each would be people with disability and youths.
“The APPEALS project is in line with the Federal Government’s drive to diversify the economy, hence this administration is in support of the project.
“The essence is to improve agriculture value chain and the significant advantage for Lagos is in aquaculture, poultry and rice production.
“We want to assist our farmers involved in these three areas of agriculture in order to up their production, processing and preservation which is a whole lot of value chain,” Hamzat said.
He said that the project would also focus on the production of egg powder which would help in eggs preservation and curbing wastage.
“If you are able to convert egg into egg powder, farmers will save more and and export the powder across the world.
“The reason for choosing to go into poultry, fish and rice farming is because we can improvise.
“With technology and better seedlings we can maximize the little land in Lagos thereby producing and also processing ,which is what we are trying to achieve,” Hamzat said.
Speaking, Alhaja Nurat Atoba, President, Lagos State Catfish and Allied Farmers Association, said that the project would enhance security in the state.
“It will assist farmers in producing in large quantity and give fish farmers the financial capacity to produce on a bigger scale.
“If we have the support of government, we will be able to produce in large quantity and it will reduce the importation of fish,” she said.
Atoba appealed to the Federal government to revisit the restriction of forex for farmers because they required forex for the production of fish feeds.
She also urged the government to subsidize the production of fish feeds in order to reduce the high cost of fish.
“If feeds production is subsidized for farmers, we will be able to produce at reasonable cost and sell at a profitable rate,” she said.
Mrs Bosun Solarin, representing Lagos Chambers of Commerce, said that the high cost of acquiring land for agriculture in Lagos was a major challenge and expressed the hope that APPEALS would provide opportunities for youths in rice and fish farming.
In her remarks, Mrs Oluranti Sagoe Oviebo, the State Project Coordinator, said that the project would help improve productivity in agric value chain in the selected states.
She said that the project would also invest in Agro-processing and value addition.
“In order to benefit from the project, farmers must have a value chain investment plan which will be sent to the World Bank before the money can be unlocked.
“The project, which is aligning with the state government initiative, will help in supporting farmers, small cottage industry and confectioneries,” she said.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the project was being implemented in six states in the federation.
reports that the meeting had in attendance the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Gbolahan Lawal,
Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and cooperative, Dr Lola Akande and Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Bolaji Dada.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Special Duties, Dr Yusuph Jimoh, and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Onasanya Olayiwole, were also present.