Sanwo-Olu instructs financial institutions to support agriculture –

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has instructed financial institutions to finance and prioritize agriculture like the oil sector to boost food production.

Sanwo-Olu made the call during a program organized by the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in collaboration with the state Ministry of Agriculture on Wednesday in Lagos.

The theme of the forum is: “Urban Agriculture: Feeding Cities”.

The Governor, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, noted that the state occupied the smallest geographical space in Nigeria but had a population of over 22 million.

He said the urban agriculture initiative will ensure the availability of good quality planting material and agricultural equipment for farmers in the state.

The governor said it would increase local production of leafy vegetables and fruits.

Sanwo-Olu revealed that the government is working with the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture on urban agriculture to ensure food security and boost agricultural production in the state.

According to him, the growing influx of unplanned migrant populations has continued to create strong demand for food in general.

“We are convinced that urban agriculture initiatives have the potential to improve the food basket of city dwellers.

“It reduces food spoilage due to long transport hours mainly caused by vehicle breakdowns and reduces transport costs from rural to urban areas.

“Urban agriculture will also provide farmers with various agricultural inputs, technologies, equipment and other technical know-how that would boost aggressive and sustainable agricultural production.

“Urban agriculture has great advantages, in that it is adaptable, accessible, facilitates the supply of inexpensive fresh produce, especially to low-income communities,

“It will also create ties by stimulating the economy and providing a mutually beneficial experience, and reduce the need for huge capital outlays for land purchases,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said his administration had boosted agricultural production by making food security one of the cardinal programs of the THEMES agenda and a key strategy to transform Lagos into a 21st century economy.

“We have embarked on various projects and programs aimed at increasing food production as well as ensuring food security with more emphasis on areas where we have a comparative advantage,” he said.

He urged farmers at the forum to network with their Dutch counterparts to harness useful technologies that can increase food yields in the most sustainable way.

Likewise, Michel Deleen, the Consul General of the Netherlands, who was represented by his deputy, Arie Plieger, noted that the Netherlands is the second largest producer in the agricultural sector, after the United States.

He said the country is ready to help Lagos and Nigeria achieve food security and sustainability through urban agriculture and technology.

“This is a crucial time to talk about food and how to improve food production not only for the benefit of Lagos, Nigeria and the Netherlands, but it goes beyond borders and the continent.

“As a global community, we have so many mouths to feed, a growing population all over the world. We want to strengthen food security, food security for all,” he said.

Also, Bram Wits, Regional Agriculture Advisor for West Africa, Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, said they were in Nigeria on a trade and investment program.

Wits said the Netherlands achieved a total agricultural export of €1 billion to the rest of the world in 2021.

“We are here to partner and together develop the agricultural structure of Nigeria and the South West in particular,” he said.

Similarly, Abisola Olusanya, Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, said the program was knowledge sharing and networking on urban agriculture.

She said the theme was appropriate as the Lagos State government has set a target to increase the amount of food it produces and consumes from 20-24% to 40-50% by 2025. . NOPE

Marianne R. Winn