Lagos to raise Agricultural Production capacity, as Imota Rice Mill nears completion

In an attempt to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal two “zero hunger” which is central to the attainment of the other 16 goals by 2030, the United Nations has set the podium to address the challenges facing food systems and security among member states ahead of its Food Systems Summit in September.

… Hosts Ogun, Ondo to UN Food Systems Summit  

In an attempt to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal two “zero hunger” which is central to the attainment of the other 16 goals by 2030, the United Nations has set the podium to address the challenges facing food systems and security among member states ahead of its Food Systems Summit in September.

Speaking at the event tagged: ‘‘Implementation of Exploratory Dialogue of the United Nations Food Systems Summit in the south west geopolitical zone’’, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said that the State government has completed a five-year Agricultural masterplan, which would be raise the capacity of the State in agricultural production, as well as creating a marketing platform for export of local agro-allied products and improving food security.

The event held at the Dover Hotel, Ikeja and hosted by the Lagos state government in collaboration with the Federal government, had in attendance delegates from the Ogun and Ondo states.

The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Sam Egube, also revealed that the State is working towards the commissioning of the almost completed 52 tons per hour rice mill at Imota in Ikorodu to ensure food security in the State and across the nation.

He said: “In Lagos, we are putting in optimum efforts to ensure we support the agricultural sector and promote a sustainable food system. We are pleased to note that we have completed our five-year Agric master plan, which would be raising our capacity to be a key player in agricultural production, while also creating a marketing platform for export of local agro-allied products and improving food security.

“In a bid to also ensure we maximize the opportunities inherent in the agric sector, we have also put in place the Lagos Aquatic Center of Excellence (LACE), which is a fish processing center capable of stimulating our fish capacity production from 20% to over 60%.

“We are also working towards the commissioning of the almost completed 52 ton per hour rice mill in Ikorodu to ensure food security in the State and across the nation, as rice is an important staple of the Nigerian diet,” the Governor said.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Olushola Idowu explained that the aim of the zonal exploratory dialogue is to allow States identify and explore different options towards solving the national food systems and encourage a collective approach towards building a sustainable food system.

“The objective of the Zonal exploratory dialogue is to enable the states to explore different options to solving the national food system; examine the possibility of making it inclusive, efficient, resilient and sustainable.

“The Nigeria National food system dialogue will eventually enable the government to develop a plan of action to improve nutrition, food security, to reduce hunger and prevalence of nutrition in line with the national food as well as nutrition policy for Nigeria. It is envisioned to create more inclusive, healthier food systems and encourage collaborative approach towards building a sustainable food system,” she said.

Also, the Lagos Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Bisola Olusanya said the south western states need to come together to incorporate policies that would enhance agricultural processes in the region, while also creating an enabling market for farm produce in adequate quantity at the right time and right places.

She said: “For the southwest region, we know that land is especially an issue for Lagos but other south western states have the land. We need to begin to come together and integrate our policies in such a way that we will become a force as well. We need to come together now to say this is how we want to plan the food system within this region.”

Also present are the event were Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, his counterpart for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Bolaji Dada who joined virtually; Ogun State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Olaolu Olabimtan.

Others are Permanent Secretary, Lagos Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, Mrs. Abiola Liadi; her counterparts in Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Hakeem Olaniyi; Ministry of the Environment, Mrs. Aderonke Odeneye; Office of Sustainable Development Goals, Mrs. Bose George; Ondo State Permanent Secretary for Agric, Mr Sunday Akintomigbe and other stakeholders.

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.