The Lagos State Government is working towards the deployment of technology that will enable farming all year round in order to achieve food security and self-sufficiency in the State and Nigeria as a whole.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, made the disclosure at a press briefing to herald the activities lined up for the celebration of Y2021 World Food Day, explaining that an all-year farming season would ensure that Lagos attains the desired sustainable agri-food systems.
Olusanya noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has occasioned the need for an urgent change of route to bring about food security and safety, due to effects of the pandemic on agriculture.
Her words: “This year has been an exceptional year with the world trying to recover from the COVID-19 global pandemic which ravaged the world last year. Suffice it to say that the food we eat and the way we eat it affect our health and that of our planet and, in return, this has a direct impact on the way agri-food systems work.
Maintaining that the theme of this year’s World Food Day Celebration – Our Actions are our Future: Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment and a Better Life – is indeed apt, the Commissioner stated that it focuses on the efforts being made by the State Government to ensure that a variety of sufficient, nutritious and safe foods are available at affordable prices to everyone.
She explained that Lagos currently produces about 20% of its total food demand leaving a gap of 80% to be imported from other States of the Federation and other countries, stressing that concerted efforts and increased investments in the agricultural sector are essential to bridge the gap and improve food production, food security and supply.
The Commissioner pointed out that new policies are being adopted for sustainable production of affordable nutritious foods and promotion of farmers’ participation to promote equality and learning, drive innovation, boost rural incomes, offer safety nets to smallholder farmers and build climate resistance.
She added that multiple linkages between areas affecting food systems such as health, education, energy, finance, social protection, among others, would also be reconsidered with a view to making solutions fit together.
Olusanya averred that the World Food Day is celebrated annually on the 16th of October, worldwide, to commemorate the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945, adding that the day is also recognised by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), among others.
“All member countries of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), including Nigeria, annually participate in the events which focus primarily on the state of food security, raising awareness on the issues behind poverty and hunger as well as the efforts of different sectors to meet its challenges,” she said.
The Commissioner listed some activities lined up for the celebration in the State including a Road Walk/Sensitisation on Friday, 8th October; an Interactive Farmers’ Forum on Tuesday, 12th October; Ofada Rice Day Symposium on Wednesday, 13th October; School Agric Quiz Competition slated for Thursday, 14th October and the grand finale on Saturday, 16th October, 2021.