Sanwo-Olu Inaugurates Fresh Food Hub, to Mitigate 50% Produce Loss

Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Sunday inaugurated a newly constructed middle-level Fresh Food Agro-Hub, at Idi-Oro in Mushin area of the state.

Speaking during the inauguration, Sanwo-Olu said that the facility would help to mitigate the 50 per cent post-harvest losses, and reduce carbon emissions in the state.

The fresh food agro-hub is one of the eight middle-level markets constructed by the state government, with the modern facility sitting on 6,400 square metres of land.

He said that the facility heralded a turning point in the state’s food distribution system, in line with the Food Systems Transformation Agenda, which was strategic in the actualization of the THEMES Plus Agenda of the government.

According to him, the Food System Transformation Agenda was adopted as a measure to improve the current system which is inundated by wastage, post-harvest losses, traffic congestion, and other inefficiencies that result in the loss of over 50 per cent of agricultural produce, especially in perishables.

”This transformation journey is hinged on our 5-year Agricultural and Food Systems Roadmap (2021-2026), which reflects our passionate commitment to boosting food production, processing and marketing,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said that the roadmap sets the stage for direct interventions, strategic collaborations, and the establishment of linkages with the private sector, financial institutions, foreign governments and multilateral agencies

He said that the Mid-level agro produce hub would pave the way for the modernization, re-organisation and presentation of state-of-the-art data-driven food and agriculture systems, where players and actors in the marketing chain interact freely.

The governor said that the food hub also addressed prevailing market challenges of inadequate infrastructure; food shortage; high degree of fragmentation and standardization.

He said that the government, through efficiency-driven strategies such as this and other initiatives, was on the right path to enhancing food production, which would lead to attaining the goal of meeting 40 per cent of Lagos State’s food requirements by 2025.

He listed the other initiatives to include the groundbreaking Eko Agro Mechanisation Programme, the innovative tractor-hailing application and the establishment of a 32 tons/hour Lagos Rice Mill at Imota.

The governor also cited the enterprise development for women and youth in poultry production, piggery, aquaculture, apiculture (beekeeping), horticulture, and artisanal fishing.

”As these efforts continue to yield the desired result in increased food production, it becomes imperative that all the inefficiencies that can erode the impact on the populace are addressed, which is the central goal of the Food Systems Transformation Agenda.

”This agenda categorises our Food System into the Central Logistics Hub, Mid-level Agro-produce Hub, and the Last Mile Food Distribution outlets.

”To demonstrate our resolve to follow through with the agenda, the construction of the Central Logistics Hub at Ketu-Ereyun, Epe is ongoing, while the smallest of the pilot, the mid-level Agro-produce Hub is being commissioned today.

”This will be followed with the construction of additional three (3) Hubs at Agege, Ajah, and Abule-Ado axis of the state.

”In all, the plan is to construct fifty (50) mid-level agro produce Hubs across the state,” he said.

Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, said that the middle-level food Agro-hub was Gov. Sanwo-Olu’s food transformation agenda, purposely built to serve the people at the grassroots.

Olusanya said that the initiative was to ensure that farmers maximised their profit and allow market women to sell at the right price, since it already eliminated wastage.

She noted that the Fresh Food Agro Hub would further boost a healthy environment processed with fresh foods.

A member representing Mushin Federal Constituency, Mr Toyin Fayinka, appreciated the fact that the pilot project was constructed in Mushin.

Fayinka assured of full protection of the edifice, while challenging other members of the Executive to facilitate similar construction in their areas for the good of the people.

The Iyaloja of Mushin, Alhaja Toyibat Borokini, thanked the governor for setting Mushin as a good example to others, and promised to maximise the use of the Agro Hub

Borokini reminded Gov. Sanwo-Olu about other necessary support for market women and men in the area.

Prince Joseph Samuel, a representative of Origin Group, the Development Partner for the project, said that the idea started in 2019 and received the blessings of the governor and his deputy.

Samuel said that Lagos consumed N6 trillion worth of food annually, while the nation at large consumed N73 trillion.

He assured that the project would make food cheaper in the state.

Mr Emmanuel Bamigboye, Chairman, Mushin Local Government, said that the food hub was aimed at reducing vulnerability to food shortage and guaranteeing uninterrupted food supply at cheaper prices, to residents of the state.

Bamigboye thanked the governor for constructing the facility in the local government, adding that it would have direct impact on the lives of the market men and women.

”I am a bit overwhelmed with joy in celebrating the inauguration of this facility by Mr Governor, which is the first agricultural hub to be constructed in Mushin by the state government.

”Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration has made a giant stride in the area of agriculture, with the inauguration of this agro-hub today, there will be a great encouragement in global food processing business, enhancements of employment opportunity for youths in agricultural sector. Naira Devaluation Deepens Economic Crisis in Nigeria

”It will also attract many to agro-business and processing, due to high demand for consumer food products, and also bring economic development to Mushin and its environs,” he said.