The Lagos State Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal has assured residents of adequate food supply at all the 27 designated COVID-19 Emergency Food Markets.
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, explained that the emergency markets were created to cushion the effects of the two-week lockdown directive by the Federal Government aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commissioner noted that 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. Noting that the State Government is collaborating with all relevant stakeholders to ensure adequate food supply at the various emergency markets during the next market day, Lawal stressed the need for shoppers to comply with the social distancing as well as observe the personal hygiene rules while shopping.
He gave an assurance that the State Government would support the farmers with logistics to enable them mobilise their farm produce to the various designated emergency markets across Lagos. The Commissioner further explained that the number of markets will be scaled up to meet the demands from various communities, adding that the markets were part of the palliative measures adopted by the government. Promising that the State Government and farmers will not take advantage of the situation to exploit residents, Lawal noted that the items are being sold at farmgate prices.
In his words, “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”, he added.
Lawal said the COVID-19 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 we have introduced. “What we promised the citizenry is every other day but considering the logistics, we have shifted it to every three days in all the designated makeshift markets in the State”, the Commissioner revealed.
Speaking earlier, the Air Officer Commanding, Logistics Command, Nigerian Air Force, Ikeja, Air Vice Marshal Lawal Alao commended the State Government for setting up a COVID-19 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.He said the base had already complied with the lockdown directive and nobody was allowed to come into or go outside the base.
According to him, “For us, we have already complied with the lockdown directive given by President Muhammadu Buhari. That means that this base, with a population of about 16,000, nobody goes out and nobody comes in”.
“We have a hospital here which caters for the medical needs of our personnel and we have a functional mammy market; and we have restricted them to selling only food items and pharmaceutical products to compliment what we have in the hospital. This gesture of the farmers market by the Lagos State Government is very welcome”, he said.
Alao urged the government to deploy more farmers to the market in order to cater for the food demands of the population in the base.