The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo- Olu, has said the state government is intensifying efforts on the 32metric tons per hour capacity Integrated Rice Mill project in Imota, to ease the scarcity of rice, saying that the project is expected to be completed and commissioned in the next seven months.
The state government also is in the process of acquiring an estimated fresh 32,000 hectares of farmland for rice cultivation in seven states comprising Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and Kebbi states. Residents in the state have been lamenting over scarcity rice, especially the LAKE Rice which was introduced by the former governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and sold for N12,000 until it was recently jacked up to N14,000. According to the Governor Sanwo-Olu, who spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Folasade Jaji, a key component in the food security programme of the state government is the 32metric tons per hour capacity Integrated Rice Mill in Imota, which is expected to be completed and commissioned in the next seven months. He noted that when completed, the mill would ensure sustainable supply of wholesome rice at an affordable price to the populace in Lagos and help to reduce rice importation into the Nigerian economy. Sanwo-Olu said: “Today, we are happy to join the rest of the World in celebrating this year’s World Food Day.
This annual celebration being spearheaded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, is about raising awareness on issues related to food such as poverty and hunger and to highlight efforts being made by governments, Institutions, Organizations and individuals to mitigate the negative effects on people,” Sanwo-Olu said. He added the project was also collaborating with Africa Rice for the development of Pure Ofada Rice, capacity building for seed out growers and rice-based products and as such no fewer than 35 farmers and state officers had been trained while the Institute is expected to supply 200kg of foundation Ofada seed by February 2020 for cultivation.
The governor added that the state government recognised the contributions of hard working and enterprising farmers in Lagos State and assured them of the State Government’s continued support in order to ensure greater output and bountiful reward for their efforts.
On his part, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, noted that the state government had instituted and encouraged the cultivation of crops under the irrigation farming and the use of Greenhouses in order to overcome the various challenges posed by the change in climatic conditions as a result of the global warming.
He noted that climate change had equally greatly affected the growth and multiplication of fish in the water bodies thus in a bid to address this issue, the state government had embarked on some innovations such as the Cage and Pen Culture where fish were cultivated in nets in the deep sea as a way of synthesizing a natural habitat for them. “A prototype of this Cage and Pen Culture is presently being set up at Agbowa. The list of other areas where the Ministry of Agriculture has put up a revolution, which advertently is combating the effect of climate change as it affects agriculture are the reforms in abattoirs across the state to provide hygienic meat for the populace and the acquisition of Agricultural land outside the state to exploit and reduce cost of production outside the state in order to stem the tide of rising prices of food in the state among others,” Lawal said.