Lagos seeks synergy with private sector to drive Agric development

Luqmon Balogun, Lagos

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Lagos State government has called for more private sector driven agriculture interventions and the provision of a robust market information systems for Agriculture Value Chain actors.

Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal was speaking in Lagos at a Roundtable Discussion on the Implementation of the State’s 5-year Agricultural Roadmap (2020-2025).

Lawal noted that the call became imperative in order to have adequate planning and circumvent risks and uncertainties in the sector.

 “Citing other economies that achieved economic growth using agriculture as a model, the lesson for the State is that there must be massive investment in infrastructure, encouraging more private sector driven agricultural interventions, formulating policies that can encourage private sector investment and provision of robust market information systems for Agricultural Value Chain actors in order to have adequate planning and circumvent risks and uncertainties,” the Commissioner said.

He pointed out that the strategies to be employed for a sustainable agricultural development during this period would be hinged on three pillars including the growing upstream sector through interventions by leveraging on technologies that are capable of lowering the cost of production of those value chains such as Fisheries, Poultry, Piggery, Rice, Vegetables and Coconut with support from donor agencies.

According to the Commissioner, the other pillars include growing midstream and downstream sectors such as value addition, processing, handling, storage, cold chain, packaging, utilization and commercialization of all agricultural value chains that are of importance by leveraging on the huge market with the support from donor agencies and improve private sector participation.

Achieving the target
Lawal noted that the development of a robust policy framework that matched evidence-driven coordination among decision-making authorities with common and public goals for agricultural value chains of the State and political commitment to achieving the targets in the Maputo Declaration.

The declaration prescribed a minimum of 10% budgetary allocations to the agriculture are other fundamental issues that needed to be addressed in using the three pillars.

“In using these three pillars, there are fundamental issues to be addressed in the agricultural sector. These fundamentals are better coordination among public and private actors in agricultural service and inputs delivery system; the need to have a deliberate policy in addressing agricultural infrastructural deficit to reduce the cost of production, make agriculture competitive and increase productivity; finance and risk management by creating a robust linkage to low cost, government-provided financing such as BoA, CBN, BOI for stakeholders and institutional reforms and realignment.”

He stressed that interventions for the road map would be in line with strategic focus to drive agricultural growth and food security in a clear and measurable way.

Planned projects
Lawal noted that youth and women would be given priority in all of these interventions explaining that the projection is that the total investment into the agricultural sector from the Government, Private Sector, Donor Agencies and development partners will run into over N41 Billion. 

“Some of the planned projects are Fisheries Value Chain- Cage and Pen Culture, Fish Farm Estate Development, Artisanal Fisheries Development; Poultry Value Chain-Broiler Production and Egg Production; Piggery Value Chain: Establishment of new Pig Estates and Processing facilities; Coconut Value Chain which include the consolidation of land for coconut plantation; Out Grower Scheme for Improved Seedlings; Establishment of Coconut Industrial Park, Establishment of One-Stop Coconut Market and Value Addition Processing,” the Commissioner explained.

Symbiotic relationship
The Special Adviser to the State Governor on Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya called for a symbiotic relationship where the private sector would be the main driver and stimulant of agricultural development in the State.

Olusanya noted that such a symbiotic relationship would make the government a catalyst and an enabler of Smart Agriculture that will not only ensure job creation, increased farm income and food security but would also preserve the environment and future.

She pointed out that such a relationship would also engender concepts and partnerships that will lead to improved productivity, profitability and sustainability of the commercial and the smallholder actors.

According to her, the expected overall outcomes of the roundtable discussion are improved food hygiene, food safety, food security, employment generation and wealth creation.

She said: “We also hope that the ratified Road Map at the end of this discussion shall unleash a chain of events that will lead to numerous interventions to eradicate multitudes of problems affecting productivity in the sector. The expected overall outcomes include improved food hygiene, food safety, food security, employment generation and wealth creation.”

Essence of discussion
She noted that the need for the roundtable discussion was informed by the commitment of the State Government in ensuring that agriculture plays its pivotal role in making Lagos a 21st century economy.

“The essence of hosting of this workshop which is a follow up to the Agricultural Stakeholders’ Summit earlier held in September this year was to further emphasize the importance the current administration ascribes to the contribution of the private sector.

“I am very delighted to inform this gathering that arising from the fruitful deliberations of the Stakeholders’ Summit of 11th September, 2019, the Ministry developed a draft Agricultural Roadmap 2020-2025. The onerous task before this assembly today is to meticulously examine this draft Roadmap for ratification. In the realisation of the enormity of the task ahead, partnering with private sector becomes a must, she stated.

She further stressed that with the calibre of human resources at the round-table discussion, the goal of chronicling a pathway for the attainment of set objectives is achievable.

Some of the officials in attendance at the workshop include, Bank of Industry, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Agricultural development Bank, farm owners, research institutes, Universities of Agriculture in the South-west region of the country among others.

 

Lateefah Ibrahim