Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has charged financial institutions to fund Agricultural ventures the same way they fund the oil sector.
He gave the charge at a protected horticulture knowledge sharing and networking event, tagged; Urban Farming: Feeding the Cities, organised by the Consulate General of the Kingdom of Netherlands in conjunction with the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture in Victoria Island area of Lagos.
He noted that the forum was
organised with the objective of modernizing farming culture and practice and finding solutions to the myriad of problems facing the agricultural sector for increased production, wealth creation, employment generation and international competitiveness.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, Governor Sanwo-Olu who pointed out that urban farming initiative would ensure availability of good quality planting materials and agricultural equipment for the farmers of the State and increase local production of leafy and fruit vegetables, urged farmers at the forum to network with their Dutch counterparts towards harnessing the useful technologies that can bring about increased food yields in the most sustainable ways.
He said “It is our belief that Urban Farming initiatives have the potentials of improving the food basket of the urban dwellers as it reduces spoilage of foods due to long hours of transportation majorly caused by vehicle breakdowns, and reduces cost of transportation from rural to urban areas. It will provide our farmers with various agricultural inputs, technologies, equipment and other technical know-how that would stimulate aggressive and sustainable agricultural production. I am happy to inform you that this administration has given agricultural production a great boost by making Food Security one of the cardinal programmes of the THEMES Agenda and a key strategy towards making Lagos a 21st Century economy. We have embarked on various projects and programmes aimed at increasing food production as well as provide food security by laying more emphasis on areas where we have comparative advantage”
The Netherlands Consul-General, Michel Deleen who was represented by his Deputy, Mr. Arie Plieger said his country is the second largest producer in the agriculture sector, after the USA
He announced that the Netherlands is ready to help Lagos and Nigeria to attain food security and Sustainability
“The Netherlands is eager to work with Lagos and Nigeria with innovation that would boost inclusive and sustainable growths”
In a remark, the Regional Agriculture Counselor for West Africa, Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Bram Wits
said that they are in Nigeria on a Trade and Investment Agenda.
According him, “We are here to partner and develop the Agriculture structure of Nigeria together.
“We need to double production worldwide by leveraging on technology to boost the Agriculture sector in Nigeria
“We want to work together with our Nigeria counterpart and start the process from the beginning,” he said
The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya reiterated the State Government’s commitment to provide an enabling environment for investors in the sector and urged the private sector partner government in ensuring food sustainability.
“What is critical is technology adoption,without the right technology especially around precision farming, we will not be where we want to be, we as a government we are working arduously to provide the enabling environment, come and join us, we can’t do it alone” she solicited.
Ms Olusanya noted that with a 22 million population, the importance of food security in Lagos cannot be over emphasized and increasing urban farming is not just a government goal, but also a necessity considering the anticipated population growth to 30 million by the year 2030.
During a panel discussion, participants unanimously agreed that the Dutch expertise in green house technology would have positive impact on Lagos.