Lagos State Government has charged farmers in the State, especially beneficiaries of Lagos State Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project, to improve their productivity for food security in the State and Nigeria in general.
Speaking during a monitoring exercise of APPEALS project sites in Badagry, the State’s Acting Commissioner of Agriculture, Mrs. Abisola Olusanya, said that the APPEALS project sponsored by the Lagos State Government, in conjunction with the Federal Government and World Bank, was aimed at supporting farmers’ productivity and access to markets.
Olusanya also disclosed that the Imota Rice Mill project of Lagos State Government, which would be the largest in Africa, would commence operation in December, hence, the need to inspect some of the beneficiaries of Lagos APPEALS, especially those in the rice farming business and who were expected to contribute largely to the operation of the Imota Rice Mill when it starts functioning.
She noted that the present administration is very supportive of agriculture, through the APPEALS project, in order to empower women, youths and other residents in the identified three value chains of the project, which are aquaculture, rice and poultry.
The Acting commissioner expressed satisfaction with youths participation in Agriculture and called for more participation expressing Agriculture as one of the only ways of survival.
Commenting on the visit to Sej Farms Ventures and Afowo Cage Culture in Badagry, both nurturing thousands of different species of fish, Mrs. Sagoe-Oviebo explained that the beneficiaries were mostly youths with existing fish farms and were strategically selected in order to benefit from the project for additional value to fish products.
Also speaking, the Head of Rice Clusters in the area, Mr. Samuel Obitunde disclosed that over 50 farmers, who were mostly youths, were already working on 100 hectares of land in the area, noting that APPEALS Project had supported them with over 600 bags of fertilisers, five tonnes of Ofada rice seeds that germinate within three days, three trenchers, auto-rice sprayers, two transplanting machines and fertiliser applicator.
The monitoring team included the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olayiwola Onasanya; Lagos State Project Coordinator of APPEALS, Mrs. Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo and other top officials from the Federal and State governments as well as the Private Sector.