We are gathered here today to formalize an agreement between Lagos State and Kebbi state to enter into a partnership for food processing, production and distribution. Both states are embarking on a Joint Venture to feed our people, establish commercial enterprises, create employment and wealth distribution for the benefit of both states and the nation in general.
The future of Lagos State is partly tied to deliberate resolution on food security. Food production and self-sufficiency require our immediate attention at policy and strategic levels to sustain ourselves.
Lagos State is the largest consumer of food commodities in Nigeria by virtue of our State population. We have the market, with the required purchasing power also. Lagos State has an estimated consumption of over 798,000 metric tonnes of milled Rice per year which is equivalent to 15.96 million of 50kg bags, with a value of N135 billion per annum.
We have the economic prowess to produce rice locally. The era of imported rice is gone. The reality is for all of us to embrace the consumption of local foodstuff and commodities.
In addition to rice, Lagos is presently consuming 6,000 herds of cattle daily which may increase to 8,000 in the next 5years.
The bulk of the vegetables produced in the country end up in the Lagos markets. Lagos State is one of the largest producers of poultry and thus has a large demand for maize for livestock feed production. The State also houses most of the industrial users of wheat and sorghum; mostly flour mills, bakeries, breweries and food manufacturers.
Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Oluwatoyin Suarau (right), with Permanent Secretary, Kebbi State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Nababa Adamu (left), signing a Memorandum of Understanding on the Development of Commodity Value Chains between the two States while Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right behind) and Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu (left behind) watch, at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Wednesday, March 23, 2016.
Kebbi State, on the other hand, is blessed with a vast arable land suitable for the cultivation of Rice, Wheat, Ground nut, Maize, Sorghum and Sugar cane.
It is an agrarian State with over 1.2 million hectares of arable land characterised by very large floodplains, lowland swamps and gentle slopes. In the 2014 / 2015 wet season, over 600,000 Hectares of land was deployed for Rice cultivation in the three senatorial areas of the State.
The people are traditionally Rice farmers with average land holding of about 10 Hectares. Presently, Kebbi has over 50,000 metric tonnes of paddy in store produced from the last 2 planting seasons.
With these considerations in mind, Lagos State and Kebbi State have decided to collaborate and exploit our areas of comparative advantage to create value for both States. This alliance will ensure Food Security, job creation, increase in farmers’ income and the overall improvement in the living conditions of the residents of both states through wealth creation and poverty reduction.
This collaboration is in line with the clarion call and policy direction given by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, on the need to feed ourselves.
This joint venture will be implemented using a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), LASKEB Agricultural Production and Marketing Company (LAPMCO), and the major areas of focus will be the development of Commodity Value Chains with emphasis on Rice, Wheat, Ground Nut, Onions, Maize/Sorghum and Beef.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (2nd right) with Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu (2nd left) during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding on the Development of Commodity Value Chains between the two States at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Wednesday, March 23, 2016. With them are Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Oluwatoyin Suarau (right) and Permanent Secretary, Kebbi State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Nababa Adamu (left).
The numerous thousands of our market women and men can become key employers of labour as distributors of ‘Ibile Rice’. We can also brand and package rice in the names of our distributors and market women. As a State, we shall adopt our local rice as a State dish in all ramifications.
The special purpose vehicle will allow the entrance of private sector investors and other states in expanding the rice mill at Imota, Ikorodu and other locations. We have already designated the 100 hectare land at Imota as the Agric Park in the State. Other locations in and outside the State will be vigorously activated to fulfil our mission in record time.
This is the first time in the history of Nigeria that two States are collaborating to develop their agricultural potentials. Our MOU with Kebbi State government today, signals the commencement of a new beginning of cooperation, partnership and common-sense revolution – the ‘CHANGE’ in the APC mantra – that calls for patriotism in all facets of life. It can only get better for us as Nigerians as we jointly chart the path to greatness through this agricultural revolution.
Thank you and God bless.
Itesiwaju Eko lo je wa logun
Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode
Governor of Lagos State,
23rd March, 2016.