The Lagos State Government on Thursday reeled out its plans to generate $10 billion in the agriculture sector in the next five years.
Speaking during the official inauguration of the five-year Agricultural and Food Systems Roadmap in Lagos on Thursday, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State Governor said that most of the investments were expected to be private sector-driven with the needed infrastructure provided by government.
“The projection is that the total investment in the agricultural sector from the government, private sector, donor agencies and development partners will run into over $10 billion in the next five years.
“The focus of the five-year roadmap is to develop the agricultural value chains where Lagos State has competitive and comparative advantages.
“ It will help to enhance the state’s self-sufficiency in food production from 18 per cent to 40 per cent and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Lagos State.
“The roadmap is therefore the most appropriate tool needed to unleash the capacity to produce the most-consumed agricultural products in the state and to accelerate the establishment of farms and agri-businesses,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He said that the state could no longer afford to rely exclusively on other states for its food, stressing that it was time for the state to unlock its immeasurable agricultural potential.
The governor said that the roadmap would also lead to wealth generation, value creation, food security, industrialisation of the agricultural sector and the entrenchment of inclusive socio-economic development of the state.
According to him, the roadmap essentially focuses on three pillars which are the growth of the upstream sector, growth of the midstream and downstream sectors, as well as improvement of the private sector participation.
“Our strategies for sustainable agricultural development shall focus on three pillars which includes to grow the upstream sector through interventions by leveraging technologies that are capable of lowering the cost of production of farming with the support from donor agencies.
“We will also focus on growing the midstream and downstream sectors which involves processing, handling, storage, cold chain, packaging, utilisation and commercialisation.
“Government will also help the private sector with business-friendly credits,” he said.
The governor disclosed that the state had already started the revamping of its Agricultural Land Holding Authority, to support the investment.
He added that the coconut belt would also be strengthened with increased private sector involvement.
Sanwo-Olu said that some of landmark investment which would help the smooth delivery of the roadmap included the State Aquatic Centre of Excellence (LACE).
He said that LACE would boost fish production from 20 per cent to 80 per cent.
Others, he said included, the Imota Rice Mill, the Lagos Food Production Centre Avia, Igborosu-Badagry, as well as other state-wide agriculture focused initiatives.
“I am excited about the wealth we will generate from our fecund land and coastal resources.
“The next five years will be productive, competitive, and transformational as Lagos state implements its agricultural roadmap.
“We are set to become the nation’s agricultural powerhouse, and I invite you to join us to make history.
“I am greatly encouraged by the interest already generated in the five-year agricultural roadmap and I hope it will be sustained and backed with concrete action on the part of our development partners and the international community.
“I assure you that the Lagos State Government is putting in place deliberate incentives to make your investment safe, secure, and profitable,” he said.
Earlier, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, said that the roadmap was a brain-child of the Agricultural Stakeholders’ Summit held at the inception of Sanwo-Olu administration.
Olusanya said that private sector partnerships would go a long way in driving the roadmap to fruition.
She said that investment in the transformation of agriculture to agribusiness was one way of achieving the dream of attaining self-sufficiency in food production.
“With thousands of hours spent by statisticians, agriculture experts, investment bankers and practitioners, this strategic document was brought to live to help chart the way forward to a food sufficient Lagos.
“I dream of a Lagos that is socially inclusive; where the informal sector becomes transformed into data driven clusters and then contribute toward the development of this great state,” she said.
The Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo, said that agriculture currently generates less than two per cent of the state’s Gross Domestic Product.
He added that the establishment of the roadmap would drive in more investments and create wealth.
Olowo, therefore, urged all stakeholders in the agriculture sector to work together to ensure the success of the roadmap.