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Lagos begins ”20 Saturdays” Fresh Food Fair

THE Lagos State Government, through its Ministry of Agriculture, on Saturday started a ”20 Saturdays” Fresh Food Fair, at the newly constructed Agro Produce Hub at Idi-Oro in the Mushin area.

The food hub was established by the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration as one of the direct answers to food insecurity and sustainability plaguing the country.

The hub was busy with business activities on Saturday as farmers and consumers participated actively in the fair.

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Speaking during the fair, Mr Dapo Olakulehin, the General Manager, Lagos State Coconut Development Authority, said that the state government had created an enabling environment and good market for farmers to sell their produce through the fresh food fair.

Olakulehin, while assuring the public of quality control, said that there were agriculture officers attached to all the value chains, who do the quality control of all the products on display at the fair.

He said that the idea of the fair was to bring the farmers who are producing different fresh products in Lagos State to display their agricultural produce.

According to him, the fair will improve the economy of the people.

”As a Lagosian, if you buy something costing between N2,000 to N50,000 at the fair using a MoMo account, you get a 10 per cent discount. That is empowerment to the citizens in general.

”If you buy 25kg rice at N26,500, you will get a 10 per cent discount if you pay with a MoMo account immediately. The same thing goes for all the items.

”We have created an enabling environment and a good market for our farmers to sell their produce through the fresh food fair. The money is being circulated in Lagos; you produce in Lagos and sell in Lagos. That is the idea.

”This fair will be coming up for the next 20 Saturdays; every Saturday till the end of July. Today is the first day; next week Saturday, farmers will also be here,” he said.

Olakulehin called on farmers in Lagos State to see the fair as a golden opportunity, hence, they should participate.

He urged them to get in touch with the Ministry of Agriculture on how to participate in the fair, so they could bring out their fresh products for display and purchase by residents.

The general manager added that the 20 Saturdays fair would help the public to know that Lagos also produces fresh agricultural produce.

”And because of the 10 per cent discount for the consumers, the farmers are sure that people will buy the products they display,” he said.

At the food fair, farmers and consumers commended the government for the initiative, saying that it will improve farmers’ productivity, and provide the opportunity for Lagos residents to have access to fresh farm produce.

Mrs Chinaza Asonye, who is a rice, fish, poultry and mushroom farmer, said that the hub provided an opportunity for farmers in Lagos State to showcase what they had been farming in the state.

”The market will be held every Saturday from today and you can rest assured that you will get all the produce you want to buy here. You will buy at an affordable price because it is from the farm gate at farmers’ price and not from a middle man.

”Whatever you are buying here, you will be sure that you are buying a profitable product. People have been patronising us. This is a beautiful venture for farmers in Lagos State,” Asonye said.

She said that what the government had done would give the farmers a big relief that whatever one wanted to farm in Lagos State would be bought by consumers.

Also speaking, a trader from Mile 2 International Market, Mr Mukaila Saliu, described the hub as a new market.

”We came here to sell our goods. We have tomatoes, various peppers – rodo, bawa; garlic, irish potato and carrot. We brought many farm produce here.

“This place is very good and we want more people to join us in patronising this market.

”This shows that we have a government that can assist us in improving our market. We really appreciate Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu,” Saliu said.

A businesswoman and consumer, Mrs Judith Ebun, who bought farm produce during the food fair expressed her satisfaction.

”Someone told me to come for the fresh food fair and I decided to come in to see what is happening here. Getting here, I loved what I saw.

”I have bought enough onions and tomatoes. I also bought a bag of rice and ororo (vegetable oil).

“I love the things I bought and the prices are nice. They are really subsidised. The government is trying. This is a good initiative,” she said.

Also speaking, the General Secretary, Poultry Association in Lagos State, Mr Foluso Adams, expressed his satisfaction with the food hub and urged the state government to build more hubs in different parts of the state.

Adams said that the fair was a good concept that other states could tap into because it would improve commerce.

”Farmers are being encouraged by sales of their produce, one way or the other. There is a good car park and security. The environment is serene and peaceful. It is what we want.

”They should not make it only this place alone. Lagos is very big; government should build another food hub in Badagry, Epe and other localities.

“This will ensure that more farmers and consumers benefit from agricultural programmes like this,” he said.

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About Deola Oluwafemi

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