Six Governors in the South-Western region of Nigeria, have agreed to execute a Rice Accelerated Programme for Integrated Development (Western RAPID) to facilitate food security and job creation in the region.
In a communiqué signed at the end of their quarterly meeting themed ‘Consolidating the Legacy of Regional Integration’ in Lagos, the governors under the Western Nigeria Governors’ Forum pledged to allocate land to the Lagos State Government for the cultivation of rice in the region.
The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode who said the MoU was initiated in a bid to expand rice production in the state, stressed that the state required 32000 hectares for paddy cultivation.
He explained that the Lagos state government would be the off taker for the paddy while other states would provide manpower for the cultivation.
”The ultimate goal is that all the western states would sign and be able to feed into the rice mill that Lagos state is locating in Imota area of Ikorodu, ” he said.
He also stressed the need for food security in the region.
”The whole essence of food security of Western Nigeria is thus focused on our states maximising their comparative advantages to guarantee increased food, jobs creation and the welfare of our people,” Ambode said.
The governors mandated the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission and agriculture commissioners in states in the region to liaise with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) to develop a roadmap for each state four weeks before the proposed summit.
They also resolved to hold a Regional Agriculture Summit in Ibadan in May 2018, to be sponsored by the Lagos State Government.