The stakeholders made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of a one-day Agricultural Stakeholders Summit organised by the State Ministry of Agriculture featuring 120 participants made up of 30 Government officials, 21 Bank Officials, 12 representatives from different farms and 57 from Agro-processing and Agriculture-related companies.
During the event, several issues of importance relating to Agriculture and food security were considered in order to develop strategies that would ensure the State attains sustainable food security and improved nutrition as well as employment generation and wealth creation through a combination of business and development platforms in partnership with the private sector.
The Summit commended the present administration for its commitment towards making Lagos State a 21st Century economy as manifested in one of the six pillars of the THEMES Agenda with agriculture and food security playing prominent roles in the Agenda.
The Stakeholders also stressed the need for the Mill to be managed on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement when completed as well as financing for backward integration through the Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme.
While urging the State Government to consolidate the 51,000 hectares of land for rice cultivation in and outside the State for sustainable supply of paddy to the Imota Rice Mill, participants expressed the need to review the Lagos-Kebbi Rice agreement collaboration just as it called for further investment in infrastructure such as road network, power, warehousing etc. within and around the Rice Mill to ensure optimal utilisation.
Furthermore, the Stakeholders emphasised the need to fast track the process of assessing the CBN Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) for the speedy completion of the State-owned Rice Mill at Imota.
“The Government should access the State’s window under the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme for land development on Rice cultivation. The Summit appreciated the Lagos State government initiative of giving the stakeholders the opportunity to contribute to putting up an Agricultural Road Map for the State and noted the need to put in place a policy to ensure the continuity of the Mill, regardless of Government in power as well as an all-inclusive tracking mechanism of action plans as agreed at the Summit,” the communiqué noted.
The Summit commended the State Government’s plan to train, empower and build the capacity of no fewer than 15,000 youths and the unemployed on various Agricultural Value Chains in her five-year action plan, expressing the need for more private sector involvement in form of collaboration with the State Government on her various Agricultural Empowerment Schemes.
Commenting on government’s focus on the agricultural sector, “The Summit commended the Lagos State Government’s initiative on Agro tourism, especially with the establishment Agric-YES Songhai. The Summit called for immediate resuscitation of Agric-YES Songhai at Avia, Badagry for it to fulfill its intended mandate. The Summit also noted that Government should facilitate the development of a Business Model for Agric-YES Songhai that will expose the economic potentials and investment opportunities to trigger private sector participation”.