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Excitement as Sanwo-Olu revives organic farm in Badagry

Badagrythe sprawling historic city bordering the Benin Republic in Lagos, was agog recently. Many residents of the city, including leaders and members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the area, could hardly curtail their excitement. Children in colorful clotheslined the roads in their numbers. 

The residents were excited to see the state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was visiting the city for the first time since his inauguration as governor on May 29 last year. He was in the community to inspect ongoing projects in the area.

Many residents of the historic city trooped out in large numbers to express support for the governor. The elderly, youths, and children in their hundreds gathered in different parts of the town, waving and hailing the governor as he moved around the city.

Banners and placards with messages such as ‘Sanwo-Olu are our Governor,’ ‘Welcome to Badagry,’ and ‘We love Governor Sanwo-Olu’ were in very conspicuous places.

One of the facilities the governor visited was the Avia-Igborosun Organic Farm in Mowo. And he was consistently applauded by the excited people that had thronged the farm even before his arrival.

Attired in blue jeans, grey T-shirt, a jacket and cap, the governor was accompanied by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Tayo Ayinde; Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya; Special Adviser to the Governor on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Bonu Solomon Saanu; and member of the Lagos State House of Assembly representing Badagry I, Hon. Ibrahim Kayode, among others.

Immediately he alighted from his car, Sanwo-Olu went to meet the crowd comprising hundreds of women, men, and children as well as APC chieftains and members at the entrance of the farm. The governor interacted with the people for a few minutes before proceeding inside the farm for the business of the day.

Waiting for the governor was the permanent secretary in the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya, and management and staff of the Avia Organic Farm.

The governor subsequently took a tour of the 279-hectare farm. The Lagos State Government, it was gathered, acquired the farm in 2012 for commercial agricultural projects. Agriculture development, the reporter gathered, is one of the major thrusts of Sanwo-Olu’s “Greater Lagos” agenda, which is hinged on a six-pillar policy program tagged T.H.E.M.E.S. The six pillars are Traffic Management and Transportation; Health and Environment; Education and Technology; Making Lagos a 21st Century State; Entertainment and Tourism, as well as Security and Governance.

With agriculture coming under the fourth pillar – ‘Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy,’ it was gathered that the governor’s pilot agriculture scheme – Lagos Food Production Park – has been scheduled to take off in Badagry.

During the tour, Sanwo-Olu dwelt on the need to revive the Avia Organic Farm, noting that the project had been abandoned for some time, with some of the facilities already moribund. He said some agricultural projects would be developed on a commercial scale in the organic farm. These he said include fishing, poultry, piggery, and agro-forestry, among others.

In a chat with newsmen after the two-hour tour, Sanwo-Olu said his administration was ready to revive the farm to boost food security in the state.

He informed his audience that the state would encourage the private sector to invest in the project, which he said would create thousands of direct jobs and improve the wellbeing of residents.

His words: “I have been fully briefed about this project but I considered it necessary to personally embark on this journey to Badagry in order to take the assessment and see what exactly we need to do in terms of intervention. After taking a tour of the project site, what I observed is that the entire project looks more as a job that has not been completed. Therefore, we need to improve on the interventions to the Ministry of Agriculture.

“With very minimal resources, we have seen what the Ministry of Agriculture has done to keep the project afloat. The government will raise the resources and turn around this project to the level it should be. We will need to deploy more resources to revive and scale up all the machinery and systems already put in place. We will complete the project and open it for commercial production.”

He further explained that the revival of the Badagry organic farm and the creation of more food production parks across the state were all part of the strategy of his government to increase food security level from 20 percent to 50 percent, thereby raising Lagos’ food sufficiency.

He asserted that the project would give rise to similar agro-allied businesses that would open up Badagry’s economy for more growth, while also boosting its tourism business.

“Lagos is a big state in terms of population, but we also can intervene in our food production value chain. What we are also trying to do with the revival of the project is that we want to produce various agricultural products we can consume internally in order to reduce our dependence on external food sources. The food production park, which we are creating across the state, will trigger other value-added agricultural productions that our citizens can provide,” he said.

The governor also pledged to rehabilitate Igborosun Road, the major artery to the farm.

After completing the tour of the farm, Sanwo-Olu drove in a long convoy with some party dignitaries, community and association leaders to other parts of Badagry to inspect some projects.

As the governor’s convoy moved, men, women, and children lined the roads, waving their hands and placards, and shouting the governor’s name. On more than one occasion, the governor stopped the convoy and interacted with the people, especially children.

The governor also visited the Badagry General Hospital, where he inspected some projects. Among the projects was the 105-bed Mother and Child Care (MCC) building recently completed by the Lagos State government in the premises of the hospital.

Speaking during the tour of the hospital, the governor promised that the MCC would be launched in September. He also said that the Accident and Emergency Department would be expanded, with the assurance that the expansion would commence soon.

Before he departed Badagry, Governor Sanwo-Olu also visited the Marina area of the city. He promised that the state government would be building a modern jetty at the place, as the project was part of his administration’s blueprint to promote waterways transportation in Lagos State.


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