By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has expressed commitment to revive the 279-hectare, erstwhile Songhai Food Production Center now the Lagos Food Production Centre, Avia, Badagry, Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu who stated this while on a site inspection tour of the Centre explained that it was necessary for preparation for the take-off of the state government’s two Food Centers in the state aimed to attain food sufficiency particularly for a population that is increasingly demanding.

The governor stressed that reviving the 279-hectare Food Production Center which was originally acquired by the state government in 2012 for the commercial agricultural project would encourage organic farming using simple biological methods to enhance production outputs with a model based on new approaches and farming systems that rely heavily on the combined inputs from local experiences, indigenous technology, business communities and research institutions.

“I have been fully briefed about this project but I considered it necessary to personally embark on this journey to Badagry in order to take an assessment and see what exactly we need to do in terms of intervention. After taking a tour of the project site, what I observed is that the entire project looks more like a job that has not been completed. Therefore, we need to improve on the interventions to the Ministry of Agriculture.

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“With very minimal resources, we have seen what the Ministry has done to keep the project afloat. The government will raise the resources and turn around this project to the level it should be. We will need to deploy more resources to revive and scale up all the machinery and systems already put in place. We will complete the project and open it for commercial production,” the governor stated.

According to him, focusing on local food production would increase agricultural production that will meet the food needs of the State’s growing population, transform agriculture to commercial and export-oriented production while at the same time generating employment especially for the youth adding that some of the agricultural projects to be developed for commercial production in the Center include fishing, poultry, piggery and agroforestry among others.

Sanwo-Olu said that apart from delivering wholesome food items and training and creating employment for youths, the Lagos Food Production Center would also provide competitive inputs/raw materials for the Agro-Industry, provide new environmental products and services, and provide feedstock for renewable energy supply.

“Some of the objectives of the Lagos Food Production Center include production that delivers sufficient quantities of safe wholesome food items that assist in disease prevention, healthy living and healthy ageing; providing an improved livelihood for the unemployed youths; reduction of dependency on other States to supply the food and fibre to be consumed by Lagosians.

Complementing the productivity of the ageing farmers which could not sustain or move the State to a comfortable level of self-sufficiency in food production; providing competitive inputs/raw materials for the Agro-Industry; providing feedstock for renewable energy supply; as well as providing new environmental products and services- carbon sequestration, Agro-Forestry, Biodiversity, native seeds and germ plasma, medical plants among others,” Sanwo- Olu noted.

The Governor added that the project would give rise to similar agro-allied businesses that would open up Badagry’s economy for more growth while also boosting its tourism business.

“Lagos is a big State in terms of population, but we also can intervene in our food production value chain. What we are also trying to do with the revival of the project is that we want to produce various agricultural products we can consume internally in order to reduce our dependence on external food sources.

“The Food Production Centre, which we are creating across the State, will be a trigger to other value-added agricultural production our citizens can provide,” he said.

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