Lagos commissioner for Agric, Bisola Olusanya advocates for more attention to Agriculture

…to reduce rising cost of food in the country

Government at all levels have been challenged to accord more priorty to Agriculture in order to reduce the rising cost of food in the country.

The Lagos State commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Bisola Olusanya made this call at a round table discussion in Lagos organised by the United Action for Change.

The theme of the programmme was; Food Security in Nigeria: Challenges and Remedies.

Olusanya said that it was not surprising that President Bola Tinubu declared an emergency on food security some months back due to the rising cost of living and other realities on ground.

She explained that those in leadership should understand that food is not less important to infrastructure like housing, roads, hospitals, schools that makes life worthy for the people.

Olusanya however noted that the will power to change the narrative is not lacking in Lagos but lamented that most of the Agric lands in the state have been encroached upon.

She also expressed worry that most of the lands acquired for Agricultural purposes were not fully utilised due to urbanisation and rapid development.

On his part, former Permanent Secretary, Lagos Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Olajide Bashorun believes that improved security around farmlands will lead to high productivity on the part of farmers in the country.

He stressed the need for synergy among the security agencies to boost the confidence of farmers in returning to their farmlands.

Bashorun was of the view that the Lagos State government should also initiate insurance scheme for farmers to mitigate loses sometimes after harvest.

Making reference to 2016 when he lost 60,000 birds to the outbreak of bird flu, the former permanent secretary noted that he survived on what he got from insurance advocating especially for insurance on goods in transit.

Another area he believes should receive urgent attention of government is to provide financial supports to farmers in form of aids and soft loans lamenting that interest on loans from bank is ridiculous.

“Road infrastructure is very important to move my eggs from Itamaga to point of delivery. I have lost so much of crates whenever we were moving the eggs while some cracked making it difficult for purchase by customers. Thanks to Lagos state government that constructed the 7 kilometre road which eventually addressed the recurring losses”. End of quote.

Another infrastructure needed to boost the Agricultural sector is adequate power supply saying estimated billing and high cost of diesel is fast killing the business.

He warmed that Lagos State government risk losing all Agric lands in 30 years if there was no survey to mark out such they would be taken over by people.

Bashorun recommends that the country could learn from Malaysia whiich encouraged fresh graduates to go into Agriculture by providing Lands and farm inputs to them.

Earlier, the Convener of the United Action for Change, Dr Muiz Banire stressed the need for Nigerians to have real life situation of what is going on in Agriculture sector.

He however said that many of government policies worked at cross purposes in addressing the numerous challenges in the sector.

Narrating his encounter with the President on the high food prices in the country,, Dr Banire called for urgent government intervention towards addressing the menace

According to him, absence of required logistic is another challenge limiting the potentials of the sector which to large extent discouraged young Nigerians from investing in it.

Dr Muiz Banire noted that he got his hands burnt when he decided to invest in Agriculture, adding passion and resilience on the part of some Nigerians made them worthy of celebrated today as a successful farmers

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