In Lagos Govt. to set up strategic food reserves

Mr Sanni Okanlawon, Special Adviser to Gov. Akinwumi Ambode on Food Security, made the remark in Lagos

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Governor Akinwunmi Ambode

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The Lagos State Government said on Friday that it would soon set up strategic food reserves across the state, to guard against food shortage and ensure affordability.

Mr Sanni Okanlawon, Special Adviser to Gov. Akinwumi Ambode on Food Security, made the remark in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Lagos.

He said about 40 per cent of perishable foods brought to Lagos got spoilt due to inadequate storage facilities in the state.

"Looking at the area of food preservation and storage, we have what we call Strategic Food Reserves which we are addressing in this year’s budget.

"We want to put in place silos and food preservation devices like cold rooms and other cooling devices to preserve perishables like tomatoes, onions and other fresh foods.

"This is because 40 per cent of what is brought into Lagos as perishables actually get wasted because of lack of preservation.

"So, we are fixing two silos of about 3,000 metric tons capacity for a start; so, those are the things we are doing to address food shortages‘’, Okanlawon said.

The special adviser, however, said the state’s Ministry of Agriculture had proposed to the governor to establish Food Security Marshals, to check the influx of contaminated foods to the state.

He said if the arrangement pulls through, the marshals would ensure the testing of foods deposited in major markets, to guard against contaminated foods at the retail markets.

"Contaminated foods are no longer nutritious.

"Also, imported livestock such as poultry products which are preserved with formalin, used for the preservation of the dead, can cause cancer because they are carcinogenic.

"The way they ripen banana with carbide these days is harmful to health; which is why we are working to ensure that this does not happen anymore.

"We are addressing all of these in collaboration with the Lagos State Safety Commission; also, we have recommended to the governor to have food security marshals.

"They will go to the markets where foods are deposited in bulk; once they are tested to be adulterated or contaminated, that food will not find its way to other markets’’, the governor’s aide said.

With regard to inadequate farming equipment in the state, the official said that the state government would soon introduce leasing through the Lagos State Trading Company, Ibile Holdings Ltd.

According to him, that way, farmers will have access to tractors and other farm machines at a much subsidised rate.

"Because of the issue of foreign exchange (forex), it is hard to acquire tractors through importation.

"What we are doing now is leasing through the Lagos State Trading Company, Ibile Holdings, and pay over time.

"That way, farmers can lease the equipment at subsidised charges’’, he said.

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