Lagos, Feb. 2, 2024: The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Representative ad interim in Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Dominique Koffy Kouacou, has assured the Lagos State Government of the organisation’s support to attain food security.
Kouacou gave the assurance when he paid a courtesy visit to the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, in her office in Alausa, Ikeja, on Thursday.
He said the visit of the FAO team was to discuss various issues and to finalise the the implementation of the five-year upgrade strategy of the coconut value chain.
Kouacou was accompanied by Mr Abubakar Suleiman, Assistant FAO Representative (Programme), and Mrs Adeola Akinrinlola, Project Focal Point.
He added that the visit was to further discuss how FAO and the Lagos State Government would deepen their collaborations on food security.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the team also visited Tosh Coconut Ventures, a coconut processor at Omole Phase II, and Semi mechanised abattoir, Ilaje, Bariga, to access the state of both facilities.
“I want to really thank the Lagos State Government. I came here on a mission to visit all the authorities here and to have a very good meeting with the Commissioner for Agriculture.
“The purpose of this visit is to scale up FAO’s interventions.
“We have a very good partnership with Lagos and last year August, we signed an agreement with the government on a very high project, a five-year project on the coconut value chain.
“We are working on implementing the upgrade strategy soonest.
“I also took the opportunity to visit some beneficiaries in coconut and red meat value chain. There is a need to scale up on coconut processing.
‘I also visited the semi mechanised abattoir in Ilaje community, Bariga, because we already have a project on animal health under our one health approach.
“Visiting the abattoir give us some ideas on how we can support the state government and I want to renew our commitment as FAO that we are ready to support the government,” he said.
In her remarks, Olusanya urged the FAO to join forces with the Lagos State Government to ensure and sustain food security.
Olusanya said the FAO remains a very reliable partner to the state government’s drive to ensure food security.
“We have put the ball in their court, we want partnership with the FAO.
“They are already working with us on red meat and even on fisheries on providing technical support and they have carried out studies, carried out reports that showcase the areas that we feel we need to put in more investment or more efforts.
“The truth of the matter is that we want the FAO not just in some of these value chains, we need them particularly as partners around interventions for market players because the market determines what happens at the point of production.
“Dealing with only production and negating market and the end of the value chain is not what will sustain and ensure food security,” she said.
Speaking on the five-year coconut upgrade strategy, the commissioner said the state government would fulfill its part of the counterpart funding of the project.
“We are hoping that by the end of first quarter, we should have the fund released and we will do it because the FAO has done its part and we will do our part as stated in the terms and conditions of the project,” she said.
Mr Dapo Olakulehin, the General Manager, Lagos State Coconut Development Authority, said the state government was committed to implementing the upgrade strategy for the development of coconut value chain.
Olakulehin said some activities had been lined up for the smooth implementation of the project.
Dr Marufat Orolu-Adedeji, Senior Veterinary Officer, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, who led the team round the abattoir and other facilities said the abattoir processed about 20 cows and 70 to 90 sheep and goats daily.
Orolu-Adedeji listed the challenges confronting the facility to include high cost of gas, poor drainage system among others.
Alhaji Kehinde Hoseni, Chairman, Sheep and Goat Association, Bariga, lauded the team and urged them to support the market.