The Lagos State Government has asked the private sector to tap into the agricultural potential of the state for Lagos to be self sufficient.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Gbolahan Lawal, called on stakeholders to treat agriculture as a combination of business and development platform by concentrating on value chains where the state had comparative advantage.
He identified some of them as rice, poultry, fish, piggery, coconut and vegetables.
Lawal, who spoke on Wednesday at a stakeholders’ engagement, stressed the commitment of the state government to ensuring food sufficiency to make Lagos a 21st century economy.
He explained that the meeting was to get the contribution of stakeholders, adding that the government wanted to avoid making “predict and provide policies”.
The commissioner said, “In the last three years, Lagos established a relationship with Kebbi State. But before then, Lagos had a 2.5 ton-capacity mill and Kebbi was our major supplier of barley. That metamorphosed into a partnership, which led to the LAKE rice. The last time I checked, Lagos had bought over 648,000 50kg of rice. That is a major transaction.
“But we are not there yet. Between 2007 and 2008, India had 43.7 million rice farm out of the 157 million rice farm globally. That is about 28 per cent. As of today, India is closing the gap on China. India now does 93 million hectares of rice, while China does 94 million.
“Countries are putting efforts to ensure that rice, which is a staple food, is readily affordable. We need to look at that to ensure that we are self sufficient in the rice value chain. We are not limiting ourselves to rice. Lagos should be able to come up with value chains that will reduce harvest wastes. If you cannot produce, can you add value to it?”
Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, commended the stakeholders for heeding the call to collaborate with the state government in developing a roadmap that would reshape the role of agriculture in the economy of Lagos.