Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said that the State Government will revive the 279-hectare erstwhile Songhai Food Production Centre, now the Lagos Food Production Centre in Avia, Badagry.
Sanwo-Olu, who made this known over the weekend in Badagry while on a site inspection tour of the Centre, explained that this was necessary for preparation for the take-off of the State Government’s two food centres designed to attain food sufficiency, particularly for a population that is increasingly demanding.
The Governor pointed out that reviving the 279-hectare Food Production Centre, originally acquired by the State Government in 2012 for a commercial agricultural project, would encourage organic farming using simple biological methods to enhance production outputs with a model, based on new approaches and farming systems that rely heavily on the combined inputs from local experiences, indigenous technology, business communities and research institutions.
He said, “I have been fully briefed about this project but I considered it necessary to personally embark on this journey to Badagry in order to take an assessment and see what exactly we need to do in terms of intervention. After taking a tour of the project site, what I observed is that the entire project looks more like a job that has not been completed. Therefore, we need to improve on the interventions by the Ministry of Agriculture”.
“With very minimal resources, we have seen what the Ministry has done to keep the project afloat. The government will raise the resources and turn around this project to the level it should be. We will need to deploy more resources to revive and scale up all the machinery and systems already put in place. We will complete the project and open it for commercial production”, the Governor averred.
According to him, focusing on local food production would increase agricultural production to meet the food needs of the State’s growing population, transform agriculture to commercial and export-oriented production while at the same time generating employment especially for the youth, adding that some of the agricultural projects to be developed for commercial production at the Centre include fishing, poultry, piggery and agroforestry among others.
Sanwo-Olu averred that apart from delivering wholesome food items, training and creating employment for youths, the Lagos Food Production Centre would also provide competitive inputs/raw materials for the Agro-Industry, new environmental products and services, and feedstock for renewable energy supply.
The Governor added that the project will give rise to similar agro-allied businesses to open up Badagry’s economy for more growth, while also boosting its tourism business.
“Lagos is a big State in terms of population, but we also can intervene in our food production value chain. What we are trying to do with the revival of the project is that we want to produce various agricultural products we can consume internally in order to reduce our dependence on external food sources. The Food Production Centre, which we are creating across the State, will be a trigger to other value-added agricultural production our citizens can provide”, he said.