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Lagos seeks collaboration to reposition agro-food industry

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The Lagos State Government has tasked critical stakeholders in Nigeria’s agro-food industry to team up and collaboratively work to address the challenges confronting the sector.

At a three-day Nigeria AgroFood/PlastPrintPack Exhibition and Conference, organised by Fairtrade, a German trade show specialist, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya said that, to scale up the agro-food sector, stakeholders must work together and protect the interest of farmers.

She said that concerted effort must be made to de-emphasise and discourage the current practice where stakeholders work in silos, thereby missing out on the monumental feats that can be jointly achieved in combining forces and strengths to truly move the sector forward.

Olusanya said: “Talking about agro-food in Nigeria; we work in silos and in terms of the level of our collaboration, I think it is very poor; we could do better but as it is now, the future is at stake and the future of our country obviously will be in peril if we do not change the tide.

“I say this, particularly for the agro-food sector. The biggest challenge we have is our market. We have a lot of farmers and they make up over 70 percent of the sector but we must work together to give them access to the market.

“You may recall that last year, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu flagged off the construction of the largest Food Security Systems and Central Logistics Park in sub-Saharan Africa being built on 1.2 million square metres of land in Ketu-Ereyun, Epe.

“Transactions on food items in Lagos are estimated to be N5 trillion yearly, just as farmers daily lose 40 percent of produce worth millions due to lack of post-harvest storage system.

“So, the whole idea of the project is to guarantee greater returns for farmers and investors in the agro-allied sector, as the facility would cut out several layers of middlemen and facilitate improved access to modern processing and packaging services”.

The commissioner said that the state government was willing and ready to partner with players in the industry, just as she recalled the partnership between the government and the Bühler Group that facilitated the Lagos Rice Mill at Imota.

“The collaboration we have had with the Netherlands has been so fantastic and we have so much more to do with them and it is a pleasure just being in this room and being able to sit with people we have collaborations with now and in the future. For us as a government, we are open to more partnerships and we will continue to create a conducive atmosphere for the agro-food industry to thrive, thereby ensuring sufficiency in food production”, she said.

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