Farmer writes Sanwo-Olu, recommends ways to avert post COVID-19 food crisis
To avert post COVID-19 food crisis in Lagos State, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has been advised to embark on allocation of farmlands to real farmers, provide tractors to open up farmlands and establish a collection hub and processing centres in all the five zones of the state-Ikorodu, Epe, Badagry, Ikeja and Surulere.
The Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director, Bama Farms Limited, Prince Wale Oyekoya, who gave the advice in a letter to the Governor, is seeking issuance of Certificate of Occupancy to real farmers to access loans, provision of free seeds and subsidised inputs to farmers, among others, to improve productivity of farmers in the state.
He said: “The truth need to be told that Lagos State is not ready to feed the rising population of 25 million people in the state. There is food crisis in the state. There have been so much fraud and deceit with the way farming have been portrayed by government as if everything is okay.
“There has not been much support to the farmers as portrayed in the public domain and the media space. I want your administration through your good office to realise that the only way we can get out of poverty is to empower our own people to prosper and build an economy. We need to empower people and guide them to become what we want.”
Oyekoya said though the ministry of Agriculture has tried to make funds available, he added that a lot needs to be done to avert waste and invest in local farmers. “Some of the previous initiatives like the Agric YES at Araga, Epe and the prototype of Songhai farms at Badagry with several billions of taxpayers’ money has turned out to be a monumental waste.
“Some of these moribund agric projects could be concessioned to private sector to manage and report back to the government. Time of waste is over with this COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to avert food crisis and to contribute meaningfully to food security of the state, farmers need government assistance just like their colleagues in other states. This is not the best time to pay lip service to farmers’ needs in the state.”
“The last time Lagos State distributed farming tools and tractors to farmers was over 10 years ago during the first term of Babatunde Raji Fashola’s government. Currently, the state government and the 20 Local Governments do not have a single bulldozer or tractors to assist the farmers in the state. This has adversely affected food production. “