The Lagos State Government has perfected plans to create wealth for more than five million people, feed more than 10 million Lagosians, guarantee food supplies for at least 90 days, provide storage facilities for more than 1,500 trucks per day, and process large commercial transactions among others.
This is the manifestation of the Lagos Central Food Security Systems & Logistics hub, otherwise known as Africa’s largest food logistics park, situated at Ketu-Ereyun, Epe area of the state.
Based on the government’s expectations, the multi-billion naira initiative, flagged-off last Wednesday, will improve productivity, guarantee greater returns for farmers, by cutting out several layers of middlemen; facilitate improved access to modern processing and packaging services for farmers; and generate useful data for the use of government agencies, private sector players, and multilateral agencies.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the project would be completed in two years. He noted that upon completion, it will address myriads of challenges faced by the production of farm produce in the state which includes —reducing the cost of food and also eliminating more than 50 per cent waste along the value chain from the farm gate, transportation, storage and food market.
He said the initiative would also enhance the state’s self-sufficiency level in food production from 18 to 40 per cent, adding that his administration is poised to address the challenges of stakeholders in the agri-space and give hope to the people through improved quality of life.
According to the Governor, the project aims at putting in place the required infrastructure to address the increasing population of Lagosians, thereby reducing pressure on its ability to feed itself.
The project, he added, will ensure the highest consideration for consumer protection, while also catering for specialised logistics and centralised procurement systems on a produce-by-produce level.
“For ease of development, the project has been divided into two phases – the pilot phase and the main phase. Implementation of this plan is kicking off with today’s groundbreaking ceremony of the pilot phase, and the aim is to catalyse and crowd-in investors to support the Lagos food security master plan. This phase will be developed between the state government and private sector, through a Design-Build-Finance-Operate-and-Transfer model,” he said.
To achieve the goals of transforming the food systems infrastructure, he implored relevant developmental agencies and private investors to take advantage of the reform and invest in the state.
He also appealed to the people of Epe and the Lagos East Senatorial District to take ownership of the project by ensuring the protection of the facilities that will be put in place to forestall any act of vandalism that could frustrate the project.
In her welcome address, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, expressed hope that the project’s enormity and scope will change the economic landscape of Epe and Lagos as a whole.
She said: “No doubt, it would lead to an influx of services in sectors such as real estate, banking, logistics, hospitality and a host of others. This is in view of the population increase, growth in per capita income, and improvement in the people’s standard of living.
“Upon completion, the Food Security Systems & Central Logistics Hub will unleash the huge potential in both the midstream and downstream sectors of the agricultural and foods sector. This project will further reaffirm the state as the preferred market destination for agricultural produce along the West African corridor.”
The project manager of the construction company, Messrs Origin Tech Group, Samuel Joseph-Samuel, said the project, which attracts the sum of N60b for the first phase of development, will reduce food waste by 25 per cent.