World Bank-backed APPEALS project advocates for land to boost agriculture

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By Olayinka Olawale
Lagos, Jan 18, 2022 The Lagos Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project, a World Bank support programme, has urged the government to prioritise allocation of lands for agricultural practice.
Mrs Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, Project Coordinator, Lagos APPEALS, told newsmen in Lagos, on Tuesday that it had become crucial to prioritise land allocation to agriculture to boost food security.
Sagoe-Oviebo said it was worrisome that land allocation to construct residential estate and commercial properties were prioritised above agricultural purposes.
She stressed that government and stakeholders in the sector should not downplay the role of agriculture in the nation’s economy and that residential properties should not take the place of farming.
She noted that special consideration should be given to agriculture practices in every locality.
“It is not every landed property that should be used for building houses, people must begin to look at agricultural practices as future investment too.
“If we use all our lands for houses and residential building, what land are we going to use to farm for food and feed the citizenry.
“Look at what happened in New Zealand, they focused only on oil but unfortunately, the oil finished and the system collapsed because there is no food. They failed to give priority to agriculture.
“So we must not down play the role of agriculture in any economy,” she advised
The coordinator urged the government to use unoccupied vast arable land, along major highways within the state, for farming to attain food self sufficiency in the nearest future.
”We have lands that are not cultivated; the land along major highways should be allocated to people for agricultural purposes.
“When you travel from one city to another, you will notice a lot of virgin land, many of them have been sold for housing estates, without consideration for farming and food security.
“Some are just there, they are not being put to use, yet we need land to cultivate food for Nigerians,” she lamented.
Sagoe-Oviebo urged stakeholders in the agriculture space to take the bull by the horn and tap into the enormous potentials available in the sector to avert food insecurity in the nearest future.
” I don’t think we are going to have food insecurity; the only fear I have is in next couple of years.
“If we don’t have people take the bull by the horn, I fear for the sector because there are so many opportunities in the agriculture space that people are not tapping into.
“If you move from Lagos to Epe and to Badagry, you will see that there are so many lands, but everybody wants to use it to build houses, they want to build estate.
“That shouldn’t be our focus. Agriculture is a long term investment that is high yielding,” the coordinator said.
She stressed the need for government to discuss with traditional rulers to designate some land for agriculture in their localities.