By Olayinka Olawale
The Lagos State Government says it will continue to sensitise market men and women as well as traders on hygiene, food safety, preservation, storage, marketing and transportation in market systems to address food insecurity.
Ms Abisola Olusanya, the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, stated this at a sensitisation programme for market men and women on Saturday at the Lagos Fresh Food Agro-Hub in Idi-Oro, Mushin, Lagos.
She said that well structured market systems would address wastage and other issues surrounding food insecurity in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that over 500 market men and women from Ikeja and Oshodi local government areas attended the programme on sensitisation on market hygiene, food safety, cleanliness, storage, marketing and transportation.
She noted that there was need for market men and women to unlearn and relearn the act of trading, selling and merchandising hygiene in a 21st century Lagos.
She said the fresh food hub would continue to improve on its services as a pilot project in the state.
“We are dealing with two local governments, last week we had over 500 of them here from Mushin.
“The idea is as we have the hub, and it becomes operationalising little by little, we must sensitise and train market men and women to understand that this is the new direction for a 21st century Lagos of our dreams.
“It is for them to understand that this is how it should be, they need to unlearn and relearn the act of trading and the act selling and merchandising hygiene and more.
“It is also an avenue for government to have a one-to-one personalised interaction with the market women and to also hear and address their needs, local government by local government and community by community.
“At the end of the day, the informal sector, they make up 60 per cent of our population, it is a wonderful avenue for the administration of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to start to have that inclusivity for everybody, especially for them.
“That is why the hub is going on here with the food fair today and behind it, we are talking to our market women on hygiene, food safety, preservation storage, marketing, transportation.
“Any welfare package that the government has for them, it is discussed with them.”
The commissioner also called for more partnership among food producing states to address the problem asoociated with food insecurity.
She said that partnership was key and the only way to address food insecurity in the country.
The commissioner said that trade is an integral part of agriculture hence the state government is investing and supporting its market systems.
“What we are doing here is the last chapter to the food supply and food story across board in any clime in the world.
“The market is the final destination for any food produced and the market also has a way of intensifying production.
“When you get market right, you will start to get production right because in a hub like this at the end of the day, we will know the number of transactions that have happened.
“We will know the value of transactions that have happened, we will know the number of people that have come here to shop today and we will know the volume of food that have been traded.
“Imagine we can do this in every market in every local government, you can aggregate the numbers and you can tell the numbers of real demands of products is for Lagos.
“As a state, we can start to talk to states that have competitive and comparative advantage in that product.
“You can start to have deals on food chain, such that a state that is very much strong in production can also now begin to push support farmers in the products, knowing full well that Lagos has the capacity to offtake it.
“It’s a 360 degree thing, you can be the best in production, if you don’t have the right market space, your products will go to waste and your farmers will not have maximised their profit and at the end of the day, there will still be food insecurity.
“You can be the best market in Nigeria, if your market is not organised, you will see a lot of waste and there will be food insecurity.
“Agriculture and food systems is a relay, it is not a marathon, pass on the baton to one another, we are the last leg of that chain.
“We want partnership with all the states, we must work together, we can not work in silos and we cannot try to do it all by ourselves.
“That is why partnership is key and that is the only way to address food insecurity, “ she said.
Also, Mrs Aderonke Apena, Head of Market and Waste Services, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), said that there was zero tolerance for indiscriminate dumping of waste in market space or streets.
She said that anybody caught would be apprehended and prosecuted accordingly.
She urged the traders to containerise their waste and that it should start from their homes.
“Today is sensitisation with the market traders, we are directed from LAWMA to come to the Lagos Food Hub to sensitise the market women on proper waste management and solid waste management.
“We are here to synergise with the ministry of agriculture on proper waste management in our markets and we have enlightened them to containerise their waste, as it is key to good market systems.
“The act of separating your waste should be norm now. We have different bags to do that, we have the black bags for domestic waste and purple bags for recyclables.
“I have demonstrated it to them and I hope they will adopt and embrace it,” she said.
Alhaja Adijat Apena, Iyaloja General (market leader), Ikeja Local Government Area, commended the state government for organising the programme.
Also, Alhaja Sekinat Afeyanju, Iyaloja General, Oshodi-Isolo Local Government, urged her members to maintain high standards of cleanliness at all times to avoid their markets being shut.
She urged the governor to also replicate the fresh food hub in Oshodi area and other local governments.
“We appreciate the government for its support and we will continue to play our role to ensure that we have clean and hygienic environment in our markets,” she said. (NAN)
Edited by Folasade Adeniran
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