Lagos Begins Eko City Farmers Market To Upgrade Agric Value Chain

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LAKE Rice

By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos

Lagos State Government is set to begin what it tagged Eko City Farmers’ Market, where producers of various food items would meet with consumers and end users, using traditional and innovative methods.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal made the disclosure over the weekend.

He explained that Eko City Farmers’ Market would upgrade the agricultural supply value chains in the State by connecting all the value chains with their markets.

Lawal noted that the Eko City Farmers’ Markets is a platform where the best of Lagos producers will meet with consumers and end users by using the traditional and innovative development methods to showcase a well organised high quality market to meet the consumers’ ever increasing demand for farm produce.

According to him, the maiden edition of the market would hold in Lagos next Sunday at the Tafawa Balewa and subsequently hold every last Sunday of every month noted that the Market would help the rebuilding of the local food economies by providing a cost-effective, retail sales prospect for local food producers in Lagos State and across Southwestern states.

“The notable objectives of the Eko City Farmers’ Market are to provide Lagosians access to a wide variety of fresh, local, in-season farm products direct from the producers; to make Lagos the most desirable destination for businesses with direct socio-economic impact and beneficial returns; and an avenue to further champion regional integration through composite economic development, leveraging on the existing relationship with the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission to coordinate the participation of other states,” the Commissioner explained.

He added that the market would also provide an informal social gathering place in an open-air setting for the community where the market is situated as well as demonstrate environmental stewardship.

“A conspicuous feature of the Eko-City Farmers’ Market is it inclusive model which epitomizes the farmers and the final end users as its focus; a situation that promotes productivity and profitability. In addition, the Eko City Farmers’ Market is also a veritable avenue for Lagosians to buy the poplar LAKE rice on a monthly basis,” Lawal averred.

According to the Commissioner, the Eko City Farmers’ Market would go a long way in helping to achieve six of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good health and Well, Decent Work and Economic Growth and Responsible Consumption and Production.

“Please recall that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries both developed and developing in a global partnership.

“They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. Five of the goals talks about No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well Being, Decent Work and Economic Growth and Responsible Consumption and Production thus it is my conviction that the Eko City Farmers’ Market will go a long way in helping the State Government to achieve all these goals,” he noted. 

Lawal listed some of the benefits of the Market to farmers as including the provision of the infrastructure to support farmers in order to create a flourishing market in a trading environment that is well maintained, safe and innovative as well as connecting them to the final end-users thus make shopping an entertaining and educational experience.

He noted that the central location of the market makes it easily reachable by public transport as its proximity to the BRT corridor further complements Lagosians’ ease of accessibility and also makes it easy for farmers and primary producers to supply volumes of food appropriate for customers whether they are single shoppers or a family.

The Commissioner added that the Market would also enhance public health as it strengthen food safety by providing a healthier environment with basic infrastructure and facilities in the markets just as it would help restructure the farmers’ market sector in order to ensure increase in income of people engaged in farming.

“Each of the market day shall be dedicated to a south western state; offering her the opportunity to display those produce/products she is identified with in terms of production and such edition shall be called Lagos/Oyo day, Lagos/Ogun day etc, as the case may be thereby promoting regional integration. In addition to the above, we shall also be dedicating any market day that falls within any of the festive periods such that we shall be having the Easter, Ileya, Ramadan and Christmas editions,“ he said.

According to him, the genesis of the Eko City Farmers’ Market could be traced to the Stakeholders’ Summit the Ministry held on the 11thSeptember, 2019 with the objective of benchmarking the actual, assessing the potentials under various value chains and along with the private sector determine a way forward stressing that the issue of agricultural produce market features prominently in the discussion at the Summit.

“Consequently, the Ministry conducted specific Stakeholders’ Engagements for the Red Meat Value Chain (Butchers Association), the Fisheries Value Chain (Lagos State Catfish and Allied Farmers’ Association [LASCAFAN]) and the Poultry Value Chain (Poultry Association of Nigeria {PAN}). The Market is a cut across issue structured in such a way that the ubiquitous middlemen determine prices across the value chains thereby turning the agricultural producers to price takers instead of price fixers.

“Again as you are well aware, Agricultural produce come into Lagos State from all southwestern states without protocol and a percentage of post-harvest loss is huge. Leveraging on the activities of the DAWN Commission, farmers across the southwestern states will be mobilized and be made to ensure strict adherence to the protocols in order to foster regional integration and economic prosperity,” the Commissioner noted.

He thus appealed to Lagosians, CDC, CDA and Cooperative Societies to take advantage of the opportunity of the Eko City Farmers’ Market to come out on Sunday 23rd, February, 2020 at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos and subsequently every last Sunday of the month to buy their agric or farm produce at farm gates prices from the farmers.

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