Lagos Targets Food Security With Alternative Livestock Feed Solutions, Production Boost

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News in brief:
- Lagos state pledges support for businesses developing alternative feed solutions for poultry and fish farmers to address the rising cost of livestock feed and enhance food security.
– This initiative underscores the state’s commitment to a resilient agricultural sector, with a focus on exploring alternatives like black soldier fly larvae as feed.

The Lagos state government has pledged support for businesses developing alternative feed solutions for poultry and fish farmers. This move is aimed at tackling the rising cost of livestock feed, while boosting food security.

The initiative was announced at the Lagos Food Systems Stakeholders Breakfast Meeting, and it highlights the state’s commitment to fostering a more resilient and efficient agricultural sector.

The poultry and fish industries have grappled with soaring feed prices for years. Associated costs have accounted for a staggering 70% of farmers’ production expenses, according to the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, dependence on imported feed, vulnerable to foreign exchange fluctuations, is unsustainable.

Olusanya stated that the administration is actively exploring alternative feed sources for farmers and will support businesses offering these solutions to scale up their operations. She further emphasised the need for adequate feed supplies and inputs to stabilise feed prices, which have historically risen alongside the dollar.

One promising alternative being explored is the cultivation of black soldier fly larvae as feed. The government encourages farmers to adopt this sustainable option while addressing the immediate challenge of high feed costs.

Olusanya had also presented the state’s five-year Agricultural Food Systems Roadmap, which includes initiatives like establishing more Feedlot Systems, a Butchers Academy, and a network of last-mile meat shops to strengthen the value chain.

Moreover, eight key projects are slated for implementation between 2023 and 2025. These include a Central Logistics Hub, and a Lagos Aquaculture Centre for Excellence (LACE). Others are capacity building programs for horticultural stakeholders, and scaling up operations at existing Lagos Food Production Centres.

Also, state-wide interventions, greenhouse establishment initiatives, backward integration projects, Green Wall programs, and agricultural enterprise activation programs are part of the roadmap. These are meant to showcase the government’s comprehensive approach to food security.

Additionally, The Lagos state’s Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Rotimi Fashola, revealed ambitious rice production targets. He mentioned that Lagos has partnered with neighbouring states Niger and Kebbi to expand rice cultivation and process about 100, 000 metric tons of paddies in 2024.

Addressing the increasing cost of rice production, Fashola acknowledged the reliance on diesel-powered rice mills and hinted at exploring alternative, cost-effective power sources.

While talking about the state’s ongoing rice subsidies, Fashola explained the limitations due to rising production costs. The Imota Rice Mill, despite operating at maximum capacity, can only meet 40% of Lagos’ rice needs. Despite these challenges, Fashola assured residents of efforts to maximise local rice production and increase accessibility.

Chairman of the Lagos State House Assembly Committee on Agriculture, Emmanuel Olotu, emphasised the collective responsibility of stakeholders in boosting agricultural productivity for enhanced food security. He commended the state’s proactive initiatives and pledged the Committee’s unwavering support in shaping a robust and efficient food system for Lagos in 2024.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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