Lagos to produce rice in large quantity by 2015
of Lagos State have been assured that by 2015, the state
government would produce rice in large quantity that would make it
unnecessary to import the item again.
The Permanent Secretary in the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Dr. Olajide Basorun, said this at the 2012 pre-season training organised by the Lagos State Agriculture Development Authority, a parastatal under the ministry. The theme of the training is: “Lagos State Transformation Agenda, The Role of Frontline Extension Agents In Sustainable Food Production”.
He said a rice processing factory has been established at Imota in Lagos State.
“It will soon be inaugurated. We want to stop the idea of importing rice. This country is blessed with arable land. We can produce rice even in commercial quantity. The Babatunde Fashola administration attaches importance to agriculture.
“It is unfortunate that agric land has been encroached upon by some people in Lagos. Consequently, there is shortage of agric land in the state. This is the reason why the Fashola administration has decided to acquire agric land in other states to produce food and cash crops,” Basorun said.
He urged extension agents attending the training to assist Lagos to realise its dream of becoming the food basket of the nation.
According to him, farming is the only vocation a person can easily combine with other professions.
“As a civil servant, lawyer, doctor, etc you can as well be a farmer. Agriculture is a good source of revenue for the government and a means of livelihood for individuals.”
Basorun said Eko Farmers’ Mart would soon be established all over Lagos where fresh farm produce would be sold to consumers at a cheap rate.
“This will help farmers to sell their produce and at the same time enable the masses to buy foodstuffs at cheap prices. There is need to register farmers in Lagos because they are stakeholders in the value change my ministry is introducing,” he added.
The permanent secretary noted that agriculture is a major vehicle for job creation, poverty alleviation and revenue generation if given priority.
He stressed that the current administration in Lagos has increased the budget of agric by 1,000 per cent to prove that it is committed to developing the sector.
The Programme Manager of the Lagos State Agric Development Authority, Mr. Kayode Ashafa, said the extension agents should impart the knowledge they would gain during the training to farmers.
He said the average age of farmers in Lagos is 50 years, adding that if care is not taken, in the next 10 to 20 years, there may be dearth of farmers in the state.
“This is why the Fashola administration is striving to make agriculture attractive to the youths. Our youths should be encouraged to go into agriculture. Instead of roaming the streets, complaining that there is no job, they should go into farming to eke a living,” Ashafa added.
culled from www.thenationonlineng.net