By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Government has called for private sector investment and collaboration in its agriculture sector particularly in the red meat value chain, artisanal fisheries and livestock feed mills.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya who made the call in Lagos at the weekend, explained that the partnership would increase production in the value chains, stimulate jobs across the value chains, standardize operations in the value chains as well as enhance the GDP of the state.
According to her, “In line with the state’s five-year strategic agriculture roadmap where it has identified many areas of investment opportunities for the private sector participants, Lagos State is set to explore private sector collaboration in its agriculture sector particularly the Red Meat Value Chain, Artisanal Fisheries, as well as Livestock Feed Mills for possible partnerships with private investors and entrepreneurs with the objective is to stimulate and encourage more public-private partnerships in the three value chains.
“We are the largest market Sub-Saharan Africa has. With over 22 million in terms of population, we consume food well worth over N5 trillion annually and over N8 billion on a monthly basis. When you consider this pool of transaction happening in Lagos, it shows that we are the market.
“What this also means is that we need to organize our market which is the only way we can derive value. How do we do this? It is understanding the law of demand and supply. If as the largest market, we can enumerate properly that this is what we need for the state and this is what the transactional value should be, then we can begin to derive value and draw employment; we can begin to draw revenues and even enforcement into a proper structure such that we begin to have a better and greater Lagos.
“What the administration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is focused on is in terms of enforcing a market structure or bringing together a market structure that ensures a transformation in the food system, an Expression of Interest advertisement would be rolled out from next week calling on interested investors,” the commissioner noted.
She stated that in the red meat sector, the State consumes over 6,000 herds of cattle daily and over 1.8 million herds of cattle annually which is 50 per cent of the red meat consumed in Nigeria as a whole adding that there exists a lot of opportunities to be tapped into in the red meat sector.
Olusanya stressed that possible areas of collaboration in the red meat value chain are animal identification and traceability, the establishment of feedlot and fattening centres, creation of a better logistics solution system as well as the creation of a better system of running abattoirs in a standard way to meet up with global best practices such that more hygienic slaughtering areas are the norms rather than the exceptions.
Other areas of possible collaboration according to her include: Setting up of standardized meat shops; proper management of animal waste, biogas production and transportation of the meat to the final consumers in a wholesome and hygienic way and condition.
The commissioner described the transactional value for cattle alone in Lagos to be worth over N328 billion adding that when the red meat transformation agenda comes fully into play, it would help the state government eliminate logistics costs of transporting cattle.
Olusanya further stated that the state was working on harnessing sectors where it has a comparative advantage to further grow its economy with emphasis on the artisanal fisheries sector.
“We might be a very small State, but we are still agrarian. The value chain of comparative advantage to us is fisheries. It means that we can begin to harness potentials around the fisheries sector.
“Lagos has over 22 per cent of the water bodies in Nigeria. For instance, we demand over 400,000 metric tons of fish on an annual basis but our fishermen and our aquaculture farmers are only able to produce just about 174,000 metric tons. It means I have a deficit of over 200,000 tons.
“When you look at the artisanal fisheries sector, we only have about 9,000 artisanal fishermen in Lagos; but we are trying to bring in the youth into this space to increase the number of artisanal fishermen and increase the level of fish and seafood being harnessed from our water bodies. Looking at the transactional value on an annual basis, the fisheries sector is worth well over N120 billion.
“How is the private sector able to tap into the opportunities that are in this space so that people can see that wealth is being created? In Lagos State, across the 5 zones, we have about 109 fish landing sites where our artisanal fishermen engage in their trade on a daily basis.
“We are engaging them more, which is why we have partnered with financial institutions to register them and generate Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and account numbers for them such that they can begin to tap into the CBN funding schemes such as the anchor borrowers’ programme and the likes,” she stated.