Lagos government is investing in value adding infrastructure with stakeholders in the meat industry to provide sought-after quality products for the benefit of Nigerians.
In a keynote address during the Conference of Southwest Directors of Veterinary Services in Lagos, Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, said the state was ready to partner private operators to produce high-quality beef products that are highly competitive. Ms Olusanya, who was represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs Olatokunbo Emopkai, said the state was building a standard red meat value chain for future clean products, to achieve the objectives of its food security strategy.
According to her, the government was determined to improve livestock health to increase agricultural productivity and profitability and enhance food safety.
She said the government was increasing the access options for veterinary care, especially in rural areas, to better support animal health, the livestock sector and strengthens food supply.
She said: “On our part as a State, we realize the need for urgent restorative action, so our State Government has brought veterinarians’ services very close to the people by rehabilitating and equipping the veterinary centres at Ikorodu, Ajah, Surulere, Ojo and Badagry.
Also, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance Unit on the Red Meat Value Chain Team is all out to stem the proliferation of unwholesome practices inhibiting the red meat sector such as operation of illegal/unauthorized abattoirs, slaughter slabs and meat shops; transportation of carcasses in unapproved vehicles, unlicensed veterinary premises and incidence of stray animals, etc. As a medium to long-term strategy, the Ministry of Agriculture launched the Lagos State 5-Year Agriculture and Food System Roadmap last year with one of the focal sectors being the development of the red meat value chain. I am happy to inform that the state has started the implementation of the cattle feedlot at Igbodu for increased local production of hygienic wholesome meat and reduction of dependency on imports from other states.”
According to her, Lagos is taking active steps to encourage local food production capabilities, including empowering local farmers and accelerating opportunities for investors in the sector.
She said the government wants to encourage and support the private sector, through investment in different aspects of the value chain.
Assistant country Representative, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Dr Abubakar Suleiman said the organisation was ready to work to help Lagos and other states address challenges with access to veterinary care for farmers and food animal producers.
According to him, FAO is driving national training programme for veterinarians which aims to strengthen epidemiological investigation, disease situation tracking, risk assessment and emergency preparedness.
He noted that Nigeria was now the secondary largest poultry producer in Africa, after Egypt.