By Adedapo Adesanya
The Lagos State government has said that it was in the process of acquiring at least 32,000 hectares of farmland for the cultivation of rice in six states of the federation.
This disclosure was made by the state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday at the 2019 grand finale commemoration of the World Food Day celebrated to end world hunger in Lagos which was themed Our Actions Our Future: Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World.
The Governor noted that Lagos and other states such as Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and Kebbi would partner together to achieve this which would also help to reduce rice importation into the Nigerian economy.
Mr Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folasade Jaji, said a key component in the food security programme of the state government was the 32 metric tons per hour capacity Integrated Rice Mill in Imota.
The rice mill, according to the Governor, is expected to be completed and inaugurated in the next seven months.
He further said this year’s theme highlighted the state government’s efforts through the food security initiative and commitment to prevent the consumption of unwholesome food.
“Today, we are happy to join the rest of the World in celebrating the World Food Day.
“This annual celebration being spearheaded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, is about raising awareness on issues related to food.
“These include: poverty and hunger and to highlight efforts being made by governments, institutions, organisations and individuals to mitigate the negative effects on people,” the governor stated.
He also said that the only way to effectively fight poverty and hunger in the country was to boost agricultural production and prevent post-harvest losses and wastage.
He said Lagos was one of the participating states in the World Bank Assisted Agro-Processing, Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers, and improve value addition along priority value chains.
These selected value chains for the state which align with its comparative advantage in agriculture were in the areas of poultry, rice and aquaculture.
He also added that the project was collaborating with Africa Rice for the development of Pure Ofada Rice Strain, capacity building for seed out growers and rice-based products.
The governor said that no fewer than 35 farmers and State Officers had been trained, while the institute was expected to supply 200kg of foundation Ofada Seed by February 2020 for cultivation.
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