Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State yesterday submitted that food security was a major challenge confronting Nigeria, urging the revival of the agriculture sector through concrete policies and programmes. According to him, an incentivised environment would encourage more people to go into farming, thus increasing food production.
The governor, who spoke at an event to mark the 2017 World Food Day and kick-off this year's Agricultural Value Chains Empowerment Programme, disclosed that 1,140 residents had been empowered with one form of farming enterprise to boost their productive capacities in line with the state's food security objective.
Represented by the Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, the governor said the theme for this year's celebration, Change the Future of Migration: Invest in Food Security and Rural Development, was apt, adding that the state had ensured that basic infrastructure were evenly distributed, especially in rural communities, where farming activities take place.
"Our objective is to make our communities liveable and centres of economic activities. This strategy we believe, will reverse the trend of rural-urban migration and also make farming more attractive especially to young people," he said.
The governor noted that durable roads were also being established in the rural areas to facilitate the transportation of produce to the cities. This, he said, would address the issue of post-harvest wastages and result in better income for farmers.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Oluwatoyin Suarau, observed that the government was working towards food sufficiency through its various farming enterprises, including poultry, vegetable production, among others.
"This administration has made food security one of its cardinal programmes which serves as tool to poverty alleviation and sustainable economic growth through agricultural development to underscore fiscal responsibility", he stated.
He expressed optimism that the recently acquired 32-tonne per hour rice mill would create no fewer than 200,000 while ensuring sustainable supply of the product at an affordable price to the residents. This, he said, will help to reduce rice importation into the country.