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LAGOS: Govt targets food security with technology for year-round farming

THE state government has said it is working on deploying technologies for year round farming to achieve food security and self sufficiency in the state and Nigeria as a whole.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, who disclosed this today at a press briefing on activities lined up for the celebration of Y2021 World Food Day, explained that an all year farming season would ensure that the state attains the desired sustainable agri-food systems.

Olusanya noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the need for an urgent change of route for the attainable of food security and safety bearing in mind the changes and effects the pandemic has had on agriculture.

“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.

“The theme of this year’s World Food Day Celebration is Our Actions are our Future: Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment and a Better Life. This year’s theme is indeed apt as its focuses on the efforts being made by the state government in ensuring that a variety of sufficient, nutritious and safe foods are available at affordable prices to everyone. This is what makes a sustainable agri-food system.

“The way we produce and consume food exacts a heavy toll on our planet, putting unnecessary pressure on natural resources, the environment and climate. Food production often degrades or destroys natural habitats and contributes to species extinction.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined that an urgent change of route is needed. Reflecting on the pandemic and taking into cognizance the change and the effect it has had on Agriculture and our social life, this Administration, under the able leadership of our Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is focusing intensely on the various technologies that will enable farmers to farm all year round and provide food security and safety in the state and Nigeria as a whole, giving the sustainable agri-food systems needed by the state,” the Commissioner said.

She noted that presently the state 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 needed in order to improve food production, food security and supply in the state as well as bridge the gap.

The commissioner observed that new policies that would foster the sustainable production of affordable nutritious foods and promote farmers’ participation are been adopted with the expectation that the policies would 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 including health, education, energy, finance, social protection among other would also be reconsidered with a view to making solutions fit together.

Olusanya said that the World Food Day is celebrated worldwide every year on the 16th of October to commemorate the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945 adding that the 16th of October has since been widely recognized by many other organizations concerned with food security such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) among others.

“All member countries of the Food and Agriculture Organization (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 activities that have been lined up for the celebration in the state as including a Road Walk/Sensitization on Friday, October 8; an interactive farmers’ forum on Tuesday, October 12; Ofada Rice Day Symposium on Wednesday, October 13; School Agric Quiz Competition slated for Thursday, October 14 and the grand finale on Saturday, October 16, 2021.

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