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Lagos pledges vigorous pursuit of food security, unveils strategies to tackle soaring food prices



Lagos pledges vigorous pursuit of food security, unveils strategies to tackle soaring food prices

In a resounding commitment to address the escalating costs of food commodities and bolster food security, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State declared that his administration will intensify efforts to prioritize and elevate the agricultural sector. This announcement was made during the vibrant 2023 Lagos Food Festival held at the Muri Okunola Park on Victoria Island, where the governor’s deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, represented him.


**Governor’s Pledge to Prioritize Food Security**


Against the backdrop of the festival’s theme, “A Fusion of Flavours,” Governor Sanwo-Olu affirmed that his government’s dedication to enhancing food security is unwavering. He underscored the significance of this commitment in curbing the rising costs of essential food items within the state. Emphasizing the pivotal role of the agricultural sector, the governor noted that it has been a focal point in the THEMES Agenda—a comprehensive plan encompassing key developmental areas for Lagos State.


**Agricultural Sector Initiatives and Prosperity Showcase**


Expressing satisfaction with the substantial turnout at the festival, Governor Sanwo-Olu commended the vibrant spirit of Lagos exhibited by the attendees. He highlighted the festival as a platform for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the agriculture and food sector to showcase their products, network, and contribute to the state’s economic prosperity.


“The event is about young people mostly showing their talents, making money, so we cannot be a society just sitting and complaining,” the governor remarked. He observed the multitude of young entrepreneurs at the festival, lauding their prosperity, ingenuity, innovation, and the unmistakable spirit of Lagos.


**Lagos Food Festival: A Celebration of Talent and Innovation**


The Lagos Food Festival, characterized by music, entertainment, cooking competitions, and dance, attracted a diverse audience. Esteemed personalities, including former World Guinness Record holder Chef Hilda Baci, served as judges during the cooking competition. Live performances by renowned artists such as Tuface Idibia, Adewale Ayuba, Laffup, and Chef Gibbs further heightened the excitement of the event.


The festival, hosted at the bustling Muri Okunola Park, resonated with families and individuals seeking festive enjoyment and relaxation during the Yuletide season. The festive atmosphere, coupled with the diverse range of activities, transformed the park into a hub of joy and celebration.


**Agriculture Commissioner’s Perspective on 2023 Challenges**


Addressing the challenges facing the agricultural sector in 2023, Ms Abisola Olusanya, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, acknowledged the difficult circumstances. Factors such as the upcoming general elections, subsidy removal, and the naira redesign policy of the Federal Government were cited as contributors to the sector’s hardships.


Ms Olusanya stressed the importance of recognizing and mitigating the negative effects of these challenges on farmers and SMEs in the agricultural space. Her insights provided a sobering backdrop to the festivities, shedding light on the intricate dynamics influencing the agricultural landscape.


**Farmers’ Perspective and Pleas for Government Support**


Mrs Falilat Oladimeji, a fish farmer and member of Eja Lonibu fishermen and women in the Liverpool area of Apapa, applauded the state government for creating a platform that supports farmers and SMEs. However, she urged the government to provide essential resources such as boats and engines, fish dryers, fishing nets, freezers, and cold rooms to enhance productivity.


Attending the festival for the sixth time, Mrs Oladimeji expressed gratitude for the opportunities the government has offered but underscored the need for continued support. She highlighted the escalating costs of fishing materials, contributing to the increased prices of fish in the market. Mrs Oladimeji’s sentiments underscored the real-world impact of external factors on the daily operations of farmers, emphasizing the necessity for sustained governmental support.


**Conclusion: A Pledge Towards a Resilient and Abundant Food Future**


As the curtains fell on the 2023 Lagos Food Festival, Governor Sanwo-Olu’s commitment to prioritizing food security and addressing the challenges faced by farmers and SMEs in the agricultural sector echoed resoundingly. The festival not only celebrated the diversity and vibrancy of Lagos but also served as a platform for dialogue and collaboration between the government and those driving innovation in agriculture.


In the face of challenges, the festival provided a glimpse into the resilience and determination of individuals contributing to the agricultural landscape. The government’s promise to intensify efforts in supporting farmers and SMEs signals a step towards a more robust and sustainable future for Lagos’s food security. As the state navigates the complexities of 2023, the festival stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of Lagos and its collective commitment to fostering prosperity, ingenuity, and innovation in the pursuit of a secure and abundant food supply.

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