Launches Eko City farmers’ mart
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Government has expressed commitment towards upscaling the 18 per cent target of farm produce to 40 per cent in order to boost food sufficiency, as well as bridge the increasing demands of the teeming consumers in the state.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, stated this on Sunday at a stakeholders’ meeting, and formal presentation of the maiden edition of Eko City Farmers’ Market, held in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
According to Lawal, in line with the THEMES’ agenda of the Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration of which the fourth pillar is making Lagos the 21st-century economy, the state government has upscale the 18 per cent food sufficiency target to 40 per cent.
He recalled that 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by United Nations members States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and in future, hence, an urgent call for action by all countries both developed and developing in a global partnership.
“They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth,” he said.
Lawal added that the ministry has also upgraded the agricultural supply chains by connecting all the Agric value chains with their markets which is what the Eko City Farmers’ Market is all about.
He explained that the maiden edition of the market would hold in Lagos next Sunday at the Tafawa Balewa and subsequently hold every last Sunday of every month adding that it would help the rebuilding of the local food economies by providing a cost-effective, retail sales prospect for local food producers in the state and across Southwestern states.
“The notable objectives of the Eko City Farmers’ Market are to provide Lagosians access to a wide variety of fresh, local, in-season farm products direct from the producers; to make Lagos the most desirable destination for businesses with direct socio-economic impact and beneficial returns; and an avenue to further champion regional integration through composite economic development, leveraging on the existing relationship with the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission to coordinate the participation of other states,” he explained.
Lawal added that the market would also provide an informal social gathering place in an open-air setting for the community where the market is situated as well as demonstrate environmental stewardship.
“A conspicuous feature of the Eko-City Farmers’ Market is it an inclusive model which epitomizes the farmers and the final end-users as its focus; a situation that promotes productivity and profitability. In addition, the Eko City Farmers’ Market is also a veritable avenue for Lagosians to buy the poplar LAKE rice on a monthly basis,” Lawal said
According to him, the initiative would go a long way in helping to achieve six of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as: No poverty, zero hunger, good health and well, decent work and economic growth and responsible consumption and production.
Some of the benefits of the market to farmers, Lawal stated, include: The provision of the infrastructure to support farmers in order to create a flourishing market in a trading environment that is well maintained, safe and innovative as well as connecting them to the final end-users thus make shopping an entertaining and educational experience.
“Each of the market days shall be dedicated to a southwestern state; offering her the opportunity to display those produce/products she is identified with in terms of production and such edition shall be called Lagos/Oyo day, Lagos/Ogun day, among others, thereby promoting regional integration.
“In addition to the above, we shall also be dedicating any market day that falls within any of the festive periods such that we shall be having the Easter, Ileya, Ramadan and Christmas editions.
“Again as you are well aware, Agricultural produce comes into Lagos State from all southwestern states without protocol and a percentage of post-harvest loss is huge. Leveraging on the activities of the DAWN Commission, farmers across the southwestern states will be mobilised and be made to ensure strict adherence to the protocols in order to foster regional integration and economic prosperity,” Lawal stated.
He, therefore, appealed to residents, Community Development Association, and Cooperative Societies to take advantage of the opportunity of the Eko City Farmers’ Market to come out next Sunday, at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos and subsequently every last Sunday of the month to buy their Agric or farm produce at farm gates prices from the farmers.