By Idowu Abdullahi,
The Lagos State Government has announced that plans had been concluded to increase the numbers of emergency food markets created to meet the demands of Lagosians during the two weeks restriction placed on movement by the Federal Government.
It explained that the need to ensure adequate food supply in all parts of the state during the lockdown had necessitated the move, adding that the existing twenty seven designated COVID-19 emergency food markets had been designed with needed capacity to provide needed supply as the government battles the global pandemic.
The state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Gbolahan Lawal, said more farmers will be deployed to the various markets at the next market day on Thursday to ensure that enough supply of farm produce and perishables are available to meet the demands of shoppers.
Lawal, who gave the assurance over the weekend while monitoring the exercise at the Sam Ethan Air Force Base, Ikeja; Opebi Primary School and Ogudu Nursery and Primary School, Ojota, reiterated health experts directive on the need for marketers and shoppers to comply with the social distancing as well as observe the personal hygiene rules while shopping.
He noted that government would support the farmers with logistics to enable them mobilise their farm produce to the various designated emergency markets across Lagos, adding that the number of markets will be scaled up to meet the demands from various communities.
“We underestimated the population here and we promise to improve on it in the coming days. This is a very good opportunity for our farmers, considering the situation that we are in, to sell their produce at affordable prices. We want to assure the Nigerian Air force base of whatever they may also need because we are in discussion on how we can improve the skill set of some of the youths in the base”.
“We want to give them agricultural skills set through the ongoing State government agriprenuership programme. Aside from this market, we will also partner on the training of the youth within the barracks. The base, I am told has a large population, so this is a good opportunity for us and we hope to have a good partnership between the State government and the base”, the Commissioner said.
Furthermore, Lawal said the emergency food market was set up as a palliative measure to cushion the effect of the pandemic, stressing that the Eko City farmers’ market and the makeshift farmers market are food markets that were to help bridge the gap of food supply during the lockdown.
Speaking earlier, the Air Officer Commanding, Logistics Command, Nigerian Air Force, Ikeja, Air Vice Marshal, Lawal Alao, commended the state government for setting up emergency food market in the base, adding that the gesture will go a long way in helping the over 16,000 residents shop for their daily needs during the lockdown.