The Governor of Lagos State Babatunde Fashola said on Wednesday in Lagos that the state Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives was working hard to achieve food security through increased production and processing.
Fashola said this in Lagos in his keynote address at an event to mark the 2013 World Food Day which fell on October 16.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Sustainable Food Systems for food Security and Nutrition”.
Fashola, who was represented by the Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr Adebiyi Mabadeje, said that agriculture was part of the state government’s 19-point agenda.
“We have taken cognizance of the relevant issues. We have made food security one of the cardinal programmes of the 10-point agenda of the state government.
“This year’s theme of the celebration is relevant as it gingers us to ensure food security in the areas of food production, processing, marketing, storage, distribution and consumption.”
Fashola said that the state recently took interest in some programmes such as the inclusion of 10 per cent high quality cassava flour (HQCF) in bread.
He said this had brought about the establishment of the latest HQCF factory in Araga, Epe, one of the ‘cassava belts’ of the state. According to him, the factory produces 1,800 tonnes of cassava per annum.
“While an expected yield of 20 tonnes per hectare is expected, about 250 hectares of land had been allocated in Imota for cassava farming only.”
Fashola also re-launched the Young Farmers Club at the occasion and encouraged secondary schools in the state to participate in agricultural activities.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Mr Gbolahan Lawal, in his address of welcome, said that Lagos was about 10 per cent self-sufficient in terms of food production.
Lawal said that producing enough food was imperative because of the growing population of the State, adding that agriculture could improve the lives of the citizens of any state.
“Agriculture plays a central role in strategically reducing hunger and poverty; it can also provide employment and increase the income of the rural people.
“The task of producing enough food to meet the demand of the growing population is enormous, especially with the projection that Lagos will be the third largest global megacity by 2025.
“Economic activity in agriculture accounts for 40 per cent. “Apart from this, there is evidence that productivity improvements in agriculture can have a poverty impact three times than that of other sectors.”
Lawal also commended farmers at the occasion for their support and partnership towards improving the agriculture sector of the state.