Lagos Celebrates Farmers For Efforts As Food DriversACTA
Gbolabo Olaniwun, Senior Special Assistant to Mr. Governor on Agriculture, (left); Odiri Erewa-Meggison, Board Director, BATNF (second left); Folashade Jaji Secretary to Lagos State Government(second right) and Abisola Olusanya, Commissioner for Agriculture during a presentation to BATNF at the World Food Day/ Farmers Appreciation Day in Lagos.
Lagos state government has honoured and celebrated farmers and other agric stakeholders in the various value chains in the sector for their efforts as the main drivers of food in the country.
The farmers were recognised and appreciated for holding forth in producing food for Lagosians despite all the odds at the World Food Day/Farmers Appreciation Day which was held at the Police College in Ikeja.
Apart from the certificate of recognition and plagues the awardees respectively received various gifts ranging from Chest Deep Freezers, Fridges, Washing Machines among others.
Students too were not left out as they also received awards for their outstanding performance at the activities lined up for students as part of celebration for the World Food Day.
The Schools’ Agriculture Quiz Competition for Students in the State’s Public Secondary Schools, has Gbaja Girls Senior High School emerged as the winner, Agidingbi Senior Grammar School came second while Onitolo Community Secondary School came third.
Also the Public Speaking competition under the Lagos Agric Scholars Programme (LASP) was also held with Hunpe Klistiwedo from Kankon, Senior Model College came first and was decorated as the Agric Ambassadors for Year 2022 to Year 2023.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos State Governor, while speaking said his administration recognises the immense efforts, dedication and contributions of the farmers and other value chain actors towards attaining food security in the State.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Folashade Jaji, the Secretary to the State Government said: “It is imperative for the State Government to appreciate the efforts of the farmers who braved all odds, including the Covid-19 pandemic, to ensure that food is available in our markets, thus providing food security for the State and the country at large.
“Although the State has appreciated farmers in the past by rewarding outstanding farmers in the State for their contributions in various value chains, we want to increase the scope of the farmers’ appreciation and award ceremony to capture all the various agricultural value chain actors,” he said.
He assured of his administration’s commitment to intensifying the drive to support the farmers, encourage small and medium scale agro-processors, and create an enabling environment for private sector involvement in agriculture, as he noted that this will go a long way towards expanding the economy.
“I wish to appreciate this World Food Day grand finale partnership with the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation and Stanbic IBTC and other partners who have supported us in the course of our activities to celebrate the World Food Day, such as Dangote Sugar Refinery Nigeria PLC, Lashone Links Farm Limited, Ofada Boy, Aller Aqua Nigeria Ltd, and Hope for Life Initiative.
Abisola Olusanya, Agric Commissioner in the state while speaking said the state government is appreciating different categories of farmers in the state who have put in a lot of work in their different vocations to feed everyone.
“As the saying goes, no farmer, no nation, every one of us here, cannot do without the farmer. They are the ones that put food on our tables and make us healthy. We would like them to go home feeling fulfilled that there’s dignity in labour.
She noted that the World Food Day celebration is being supported by British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation and Stanbic IBTC and all other events had been supported by Lashone Links Farm Limited, Hope for life Foundation, Aller Aqua Nigeria and Dangote Sugar Refinery Nigeria Plc Ltd.
Odiri Erewa-Meggison, Board Director, British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation said the foundation is committed to improving the livelihood of rural farmers and supporting sustainable development in Nigeria.
She said over the last 20 years, the Foundation has worked assiduously with various players in the Agricultural sector from research institutions, input dealers, processors and off-takers to develop initiatives that drive the most impact to the farmers.
“The Lagos Farm Fair is one of them. When the idea was conceptualized in 2018 the objective was to upscale the then-agricultural show held during the World Food Day at the Johnson Agiri centre, Oko-Oba, Agege by creating a shopping platform for market linkage/access to farmers and to recognize the integral part they play to nation-building.
She noted that since the inception of the Foundation, it has invested over N2 billion and reached over 1.3 million beneficiaries in sustainable agricultural initiatives, providing financial support to rural farmers to cultivate food crops, and linking them also with processors and off-takers.
She said the Foundation has improved their capacities through training programmes, provided water facilities to rural agrarian communities, and supported crisis-affected farmers under our humanitarian projects.
“We will continue to do this even more in the future. With the private sector support and the commitment of the government, there is no better time than now, for all players in the agricultural sector to come together to develop and implement a strategy that is deliberate and consistent, in ending all forms of hunger and malnutrition and more importantly is one that creates increased opportunities for our farmers to thrive sustainably.
Speaking further she said as a nation blessed with arable farmland, fertile and suitable to grow food, and a rich human capital resource, the Foundation believes Nigeria can comfortably be the largest producer and exporter of farm produce in Africa and indeed the world.
“We know there are growing challenges faced by rural smallholder farmers (who make up 80% of the total farming population) in the country, Some of which include – limited access to credit facilities, quality inputs and market infrastructure needed to improve the quality and quantity of their farm produce and ultimately their income.
“We commend the effort of the Federal and State government to close out these gaps and we recognise the effort of the Lagos State government in the launch of the Five-Year Agricultural and Food Systems Roadmap in 2021 aimed at revamping agriculture, generating wealth and focusing on initiatives to provide jobs for youths in the State.
“We are incredibly proud that Lagos state is not just solving the present issues but also looking into the future to drive sustainable agriculture through the ground-breaking projects such as the newly established Imota Rice Mill – the largest of its kind in Africa.
“It gladdens my heart to see a lot of farmers here today because these farmers are pivotal to our daily lives. They contribute immensely to every aspect of our lives. For example, they cultivate the food we eat, grow trees for the production of our fabrics, breed the protein we eat; and they provide the much-needed economic support to grow our GDP.
During the parade/march past, all the farmers associations, farmers from each local government/local council development areas showcased their produce.
The dignitaries at the event were excited at the various produce showcased especially the livestock farmers which showcased various large sizes of fishes, rabbits, cows, rams, sheep among others.
Olaitan Olagunju is the overall best farmer, while Bukola Hassan got the overall best settler prize.
The best local government/ local council development area in Agriculture goes to Igando-Ikotun LCDA.
Imota farm settlement got the best farm settlement prize
In the aquaculture/ fish farmer category Ojokoro LCDA, Lagos State Catfish and Allied Farmers Association of Nigeria (LASCAFAN) and Mushin LCDA got first, second and third respectively.
For the Artisanal Fisherfolks, Yaba LCDA, Epe LG and Apapa LG clinched the first, second and third respectively.
In the livestock farmers’ category, the first position goes to Rabbit Farmers Association of Nigeria, while the second and third position goes to Shomolu LG and Orile-Agege LCDA
In the agro processor category, Benny’s Delight Smoothies, Lim Lim Foods Limited and Danni Matti Rukayat Oliwatayo Enterprises came first, second and third respectively.
For the crop farmers the first position goes to NPFS (Igbalu Gberigbe), Ajara Farm settlement and Ifako-Ijaiye LG came second and third respectively.
In the forestry category; Urban Tree Revival Initiative, Amalgamated Charcoal Dealers Association and Geyiba Agro Development Enterprises, came first second and third respectively.
Other categories are rice, vegetable, coconut among several others.
This article was originally published by Independent and does not in any way reflect the views and principles of ATCA. It is categorized under “Tobacco Industry News” to expose the tactics and strategies utilized by the tobacco industry to undermine public health.