The Lagos State Government says it will set up an e-commerce hub for agriculture farmers and producers in the state to produce farm produce in hygienic conditions for export purposes.
The State Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya said this during the inspection tour of venues of the Eko City Farmers Market, Ileya Edition, at St. Georges Primary School, Falomo, Lagos and Opebi Primary School, Opebi.
Olusanya said that the proposed hub would be located in a central location where all the certification of production would take place.
She said that the ministry was trying to connect with the Ministry of Science and Technology to develop an app-tech hub to encourage the youth to actually bring innovative solutions in the agric space.
“We are trying to set up hubs or platforms where we will be able to get our producers to come together and be able to produce in sanitary and hygienic conditions for export opportunities.
“We will get organizations like SON, NAFDAC to do a sort of assessment on the items produced for us to be able to export.
“Essentially, we want to be able to make it easier for our producers to be able to produce in a way that they do not have to go through many channels to certify their products.
“We want to make our certification take place in one location and then they can easily export,” the acting commissioner said.
She said the state government was also trying to create an enabling environment for agric businesses and producers to ensure the ease of doing business in the state.
“When you talk about app-tech and e-commerce, I think we have a platform for that in the Eko City Farmers Market, which is supposed to connect the producers to the consumers and whosoever wants to buy along with any value chain that exists already.
“We know that there are several other platforms as well, like oja.ng and we have food.ng and a lot of platforms exist already to try to connect producers to the consumers.
“I believe we are doing that and you can come to the Ministry of Agriculture if you need any resources, if you need any help and support, we are willing and glad to do that.
“We have the agric-business department which actually has the mandate to be able to do farmer linkages to consumers, to farmers, to even the export community and to other stakeholders across the value chain. I believe that platform has been set up already,” she said.
Olusanya said that the ministry would hold a virtual stakeholder engagement in August to find out activities in the agric space, challenges, and how to mitigate them.
“In August, we will be having our stakeholders’ engagement virtual, just to try to see what is ongoing with the terrain in the agric space and to be able to see whatever challenges they have and how we can mitigate all and be able to offer solutions to them.
“I believe in app-tech space, yes a lot will be done, a lot still needs to be done.
“We are also trying to connect to our sister Ministry, which is the Ministry of Science and Technology to develop an app-tech hub to encourage the youth to actually bring innovative solutions in the agric space, so we believe we are doing that.
“Also, we have the Lagos State Entrepreneurship Programme (LAP), in Araga, we will be commencing with the next batch in August and part of their syllabus is the e-commerce section, just to try to encourage them that it is not just about the physical interaction between yourself and the consumer or whosoever is buying.
“It is to ensure that they can also set up e-commerce platforms, they can sell regardless of the time or the situation,” Olusanya said.
Also speaking, Mr. Gbolahan Yishau, member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, representing Eti Osa Local Government, said that the state government had done a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was still on.
Yishau said the state government was ensuring that food got to the residents, which was why the Eko city farmers market was established.
“On my part, what we have done is to empower people so that they can have the capacity to shop and buy whatever they need in their homes.
“So, we brought vouchers to augment whatever they might have to come to the market with or even those who have nothing to shop with would be able to buy things.
“The farmers are also happy because we have created an additional market for people to buy from them.
“I think it is a very good initiative, especially with the festivities coming up next week, so people can have food on their table, which is a core thing during this pandemic.
“We have already given out some vouchers; in the morning, about 1000 people were given an N1000 voucher and we are going to do more,” he said.
Similarly, the Executive Chairman, Onigbongbo Local Council Development Area, Mr. Francis Oke, lauded the initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Oke said the market would ease the pressure of going to the open market to shop for their needs during the festival.
He said the market would be held for five days in the LCDA in order to give more people, more farmers, and producers the opportunity to showcase their produce.
“This market is good for people that are preparing for the Ileya festival so that they can come here and buy whatever produce they want.
“At least, to reduce the stress and tension from our people from buying farm produce for the ileya festival.
“I have discussed with the Acting Commissioner that personally in Onigbongbo LCDA, we want a week-long program, not just one day, and luckily for us, the Commissioner agreed that we should have it till Friday, August 31,” he said.