Sanwo-Olu flags off central food security hub in Epe
By OLAYINKA OLAWALE /FLORENCE ONUEGBU
LAGOS- The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday flagged off the construction of the Lagos Central Food Security Systems and Logistics Hub in Ketu-Ereyun, Epe.
Sanwo-Olu said at the ground-breaking ceremony that the project would create wealth for five million and feed 10 million residents.
He added that the project would be located on 1.2 million square metres of land.
Sanwo-Olu said that the project to be commenced in October 2022 would be completed in October 2024.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project is carried out by the Lagos State Government in partnership with Messers Origin Project Management, African Development Fund and Providus Bank.
He said that the hub, when completed, would also provide food for at least 90 days and provide storage facilities for over 1,500 trucks per day.
Sanwo-Olu said that the project was proof of his administration’s audacity in addressing the challenges of stakeholders in the agri-space and giving hope to the people through improved quality of life.
The governor listed the components of the project to include aggregation/storage facilities, administrative offices, trading/brokering facilities, packaging facilities.
Other components are processing facilities, cold chain/dry goods services, logistics services/ trailer park, water treatment plant, health centre, fuel station/ fire station and abattoir and lairage.
“As a testament to our commitment to deliver, today, we are flagging off the construction of Africa’s largest food Logistics Park – The Lagos Central Food security systems and Logistics hub.
“As the commercial capital of Africa’s most populous country with over 24 million people, every inch of space in Lagos, including lagoons and creeks, is keenly contested for.
“Space is an enormous asset to the state and local governments, traditional rulers, and numerous other stakeholders. Given its limited land mass being the smallest in Nigeria,
“It will provide storage facilities for more than 1,500 trucks per day, service the needs of thousands of operators per annum and process large commercial transactions.
“The objectives of the project as to build a modern central food logistics system with facilities for major food processing, storage and distribution for the state.
“It will eliminate more than 50 per cent waste along the value chains from the farm gate, transportation, storage and food market,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that for ease of development, the project had been divided into two phases- the pilot phase and the main phase.
“Implementation of this plan is kicking off with today’s ground-breaking ceremony of the pilot phase, and the aim is to catalyse and crowd-in investors to support the Lagos food security master plan.
“This phase will be developed between the state government and private sector, through a design-build-finance-operate-and-transfer model,” he said.
He urged the people of Epe and the Lagos East senatorial district to take ownership of the project by ensuring the protection of the facilities that would be put in place.
He urged them to forestall any act of vandalism that could be a cause of delay to the project.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, said the project was conceived at the very beginning of the administration of Gov. Sanwo-Olu.
Olusanya said that the governor had the vision for a Lagos with food reserves.
She said that upon completion, the project would unleash the huge potential in both the midstream and downstream sectors of the agricultural and foods sector.
Olusanya added that project would further reaffirm the state as the preferred market destination for agricultural produce along the West African corridor.
According to her, the enormity and scope of the project will change the economic landscape of Epe and Lagos, as a whole.
“Recent global events from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, erratic weather patterns causing severe droughts and floods to the war between Russia and Ukraine has shed more light on the vulnerability of food systems.
“A disruption in the food distribution sequence has catastrophic effects of significant proportion to the security of a people.
“While translating to a higher degree of availability, lower prices, less wastage, and more nutritious and wholesome food products,” she said.
Speaking on the project brief, the Managing Director, Messers Origin Tech Group, Mr Samuel-Joseph Samuel, said the project would be the largest logistic park in Africa and first of its kind in Nigeria.
“The project is a Lagos food security system and logistics park for storage, aggregation, repackaging, processing, and distribution centre for wholesome food products direct from farms and factories,” he said.
Samuel said that the target audience were medium and large corporate food wholesalers and market makers.
He said that the project would have storage capacity of 481,950 tonnes, create 4,000 jobs during construction, additional 7,000 jobs during operations, 1,950 companies and 16,000 employees.
“We are really happy that we are seeing the ground breaking today, the journey started about two years ago.
“When completed, it will reduce food cost by 25 per cent because it will reduce food waste and also improve the economy of Lagos,” he said.
He said that the first phase of the dry storage would be ready in the next seven months for inauguration.
The regent of Ketu-Ereyun, High Chief Adewale Badru, thanked the state government for transforming the community through the project.
Badru said the project would open the economy of the area and Epe in general, create jobs, improve livelihood and boost food production.
He assured the governor of the cooperation of the people of the community.
Mr Walter Akpani, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Providus Bank, said the bank would continue to partner with the Lagos State Government not only on food security but in other sectors such as transportation and housing.
Akpani said the first phase of the project would cost over N60 billion.
“We are partners with Lagos State and we will continue to partner with the state to deliver great project that will have impact on the livelihood of the people,” he said. (NAN)