Sanwo-Olu Tours Badagry Organic Farm
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s “Greater Lagos” agenda is hinged on a six-pillar policy programme, tagged T.H.E.M.E.S. The Agenda aims to deliver good governance to millions of Lagosians. The six pillars are Traffic Management and Transportation; Health and Environment; Education and Technology; Making Lagos a 21st Century state; Entertainment and Tourism; and Security and Governance.
Agriculture falls under the fourth pillar, “Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy”. And in leaving nothing undone in a bid to fulfill this leg of his agenda, the governor is bent on ensuring that his pilot agriculture scheme – Lagos Food Production Park – takes off in Badagry, one of the five traditional divisions of Lagos State whose mainstay is agriculture, particularly aquaculture. This primarily, among other things, was what prompted Sanwo-Olu’s six-hour visit to the city two Friday’s ago.
It was therefore a heroic welcome that greeted the Governor as chieftains and members of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) as well as residents of the ancient city of Badagry, came out en masse to welcome him on his first visit to the city since assuming office.
The governor’s scheduled programme included an inspection tour of facilities and projects in the city, but he and his team got more than they expected as people came out in large numbers to express support for his administration.
The elderly, youths and children, in their hundreds, lined up in different parts of the city, waiving and shouting as the governor moved round. They could not hide their excitement at having the opportunity to see the governor for the first time since assuming office on May 29, 2019, as they poured encomiums on him and waived placards and banners bearing such inscriptions as, “Sanwo-Olu is our Governor!” and “We love Governor Sanwo-Olu!” to express their support.
As early as 9am, people had converged on the Avia-Igborosun Organic Farm in Mowo, to welcome the governor. And as his convoy drove into the farm, there was loud ovation to herald his arrival.
Dressed in blue jeans, ash colour T-shirt and a jacket with a face cap to match, Sanwo-Olu was accompanied by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Tayo Ayinde; the State Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya; Special Adviser to the Governor on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Bonu Solomon Saanu and member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, representing Badagry I, Hon. Ibrahim Layode, among others.
Alighting from his car, the governor went straight to meet hundreds of women, men, youths and children as well as APC chieftains and members, who had patiently waited for his arrival at the entrance of the farm. He interacted with them for few minutes before entering the farm for the business of the day. On hand to welcome him was the Permanent Secretary of Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olayiwola Onasanya and management and staff of Avia Organic Farm.
The Governor later took a tour of the 279-hectare farm, which was acquired by Lagos State Government in 2012 for commercial agricultural project. The tour reflected government’s special focus on Badagry, its mainstay being agriculture.
He spoke passionately on the need to revive the Avia Organic Farm, which has been abandoned for some time, with some of the facilities already moribund. According to the governor, some of the agricultural projects to be developed for commercial production in the Organic Farm include fishery, poultry, piggery and agro-forestry, among others.
Addressing journalists after the tour, Sanwo-Olu expressed the readiness of his administration to revive Badagry organic farm to boost food security in the state, adding that the government was ready to revive the abandoned farmland for the take-off of the State’s Food Production Park project.
The Governor disclosed that Lagos State would be engaging private sector to secure an investment into the project, which, when completed, would create thousands of direct jobs and improve the wellbeing of the residents.
He said: “I considered it necessary to personally embark on this journey to Badagry in order to take assessment and see what exactly we need to do in terms of intervention. After the tour of the project site, I observe we need to improve on the interventions to the Ministry of Agriculture.
“With very minimal resources, we have seen what the Ministry of Agriculture has done to keep the project afloat. 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 said the revival of the Badagry Organic Farm and creation of more food production parks across the state were part of the strategy designed by his government to increase food security level from 20 per cent to 50 per cent, thereby raising Lagos’ food sufficiency.
He 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 can also 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 Park, which we are creating across the state, will be a trigger to other value-added agricultural production our citizens can provide,” he said.
As part of the move to turn around the Organic Farm, Sanwo-Olu promised a total rehabilitation of Igborosun Road that leads to the farm. After completing the tour of the farm, he drove in a long convoy with some party dignitaries, community and association leaders to other parts of Badagry town to inspect some projects.