The Lagos State government has opened its modern market, Eko-City Farmers’ Market, in the state.
The state government said the launch of the market is one of its drive to optimally harness its comparative and competitive advantage in Agriculture in order to grow the State GDP, support the establishment and growth of small scale industries in all the value chains as well as provide employment for the youths and women.
Speaking at the launch of the market, Governor Babjide Sanwo-olu, who was represented by the deputy, Dr. Kadiri Hamzat, said his administration plans to achieve the objective of making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, adding that the main goal in this regard is to ensure food security for the over 22 million people resident in the State.
He said: “Agriculture remains one of the main sectors through which we plan to achieve our objective to make Lagos a 21st Century Economy.
“The main goal in this regard is to ensure food security for over 22 million people resident in our State.
“Also, we are committed to optimally harnessing our comparative and competitive advantage in Agriculture to grow our GDP, support the establishment and growth of small scale industries in the value chain as well as provide employment for our teeming youths and women”.
He stressed that the State Government has begun to effectively tap into the large opportunities and potentials in the agricultural sector, especially as it plans to ensure food security and availability for residents as well as increase its self-sufficiency in food production from 18% to 40% by 2025.
He also said that beginning from the May 2020 edition of the Eko-City Farmers’ Market, each of the market days would be dedicated to a South-Western State to offer the opportunity to display produce/products peculiar to that part of the country, adding that this would further strengthen regional integration between Lagos and the other South-Western States.
He averred that the State Government “would not relent in its efforts to restructure the agricultural sector as there is a need to uphold Smart-Agriculture, driven by innovative technologies, by benchmarking on international standards for produce markets befitting of Lagos State.”
The Governor, therefore, urged Lagosians to embrace the Eko-City Farmers’ Market initiative as theirs and take due advantage of the opportunity offered to obtain fresh, clean, safe and affordable food produce in a well-structured, secure, clean and beautiful environment.
On his part, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal explained that farmers in the State lack direct access to the markets of their produce such that, more often than not, they sell their produce to middlemen at rather ridiculous farmgate prices while those farmers who are able to penetrate the market find it difficult to break even as they are forced to sell at the association dictated prices.
According to him, it is these challenges that have restricted many of the farmers to subsistence production and indirectly affected the food economy of Lagos State and the entire region, hence the birth of the Eko-City Farmers’ Market.
“The Eko-City Farmers’ Market is an inclusive model which epitomises the ideal transactional nature of the farming industry, which is expected to promote productivity and profitability of farmers”, the Commissioner stated.
Lawal noted that the State Government would develop the Eko-City Farmers’ Market into an international food market and technology exchange platform since Nigerian farm produce is perceived to be more organic than most produce in the western economies, stressing that Nigerian produce is more body-friendly than most engineered produce in the world’s top 10 largest economies.