The Africa United Youth in Agriculture (AYUA) on Wednesday urged the Lagos State Governor-elect, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to sustain the state’s Lake Rice initiative of incumbent Gov. Akinwumi Ambode.
The association’s President, Mr Temitope Odetola, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that apart from the lake rice initiative, the governor-elect should also look into more inter-state agricultural partnerships.
Odetola said that the Lake Rice initiative was a laudable project but advised that the state should not limit its partnership potential to Kebbi State alone, adding that states like Bauchi should be partnered on aquaculture.
“The Lake Rice initiative is a good project that has contributed immensely to the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), created jobs and empowered a lot of families in state.
“It also increase food sufficiency in the state and improved local production of the commodity. However, rice is not the only area that such initiatives should be done.
“Take for instance, Bauchi State, they have dams that are not in use, Lagos State can partner with them to grow fish and then transport them back to Lagos, that will also develop the aquaculture sector.
“So, there is still room for the new government in Lagos to partner with other states across most agricultural value chains, ‘’ he said.
Speaking on empowerment for farmers, Odetola said that the state had yet to get it right because farmers who benefit from such programmes were repeated every year.
He told NAN that there should be discipline and fairness in the distribution process and the criteria for beneficiaries under empowerment programmes.
“The state’s Ministry of Agriculture has yet to get it right in terms of drafting beneficiaries of the states empowerment programmes. The same set of people are selected to benefit every year.
“There cannot be progress in such a setting, so we want Sanwo-Olu to look into that area. Also, the agriculture funds meant for farmers by the state government should be properly regulated.
“Farmers are not getting the funds and those accessing it usually channel to other businesses and then pay later, let there be proper screening,” he said.
He urged the governor-elect to revive most dilapidating agriculture inputs of the state that were set up under the Babatunde Fashola administration. Adding that farm access roads should be rehabilitated mostly around Epe area of the state.