A new farmers’ market where Lagosians can buy fresh farm produce at farm gate prices will open at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) next Sunday.
Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Gbolahan Lawal, told newsmen on Sunday that the Eko City Farmers’ Market, debuting on Feb. 23 at TBS, would subsequently hold on last Sunday of every month.
He noted that the Eko City Farmers’ Markets was a platform where the best of Lagos farmers would meet with consumers and end users by using the traditional and innovative methods to showcase a well-organised high quality market.
He said the farmers would meet the consumers’ ever increasing demand for farm produce at farm gate prices.
According to him, the market would help rebuilding of the local food economies by providing cost-effective, retail sales prospect for local food producers in Lagos State and across South-West states.
“The notable objectives of the Eko City Farmers’ Market are to provide Lagosians access to a wide variety of fresh, local, in-season farm products direct from the producers.
“It will also make Lagos the most desirable destination for businesses with direct socio-economic impact and beneficial returns as well as create an avenue to further champion regional integration through composite economic development.
“It will leverage on the existing relationship with the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission to coordinate the participation of other states,” the commissioner said.
Lawal added that the market would also provide an informal social gathering place in an open-air setting for the community where the market was situated as well as demonstrate environmental stewardship.
He said the platform would reduce poverty and promote food supply.
“A conspicuous feature of the Eko-city farmers’ market is its inclusive model which epitomises the farmers and the final end users as its focus, a situation that promotes productivity and profitability.
“In addition, the farmers’ market is also a veritable avenue for Lagosians to buy the poplar LAKE rice on a monthly basis,” he said.
The commissioner said the initiative would help the state to achieve six of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good health and Well, Decent Work, Economic Growth and Responsible Consumption and Production.
Lawal listed some of the benefits of the market to farmers to include the provision of the infrastructure to support farmers in order to create a flourishing market in a trading environment that was well maintained, safe and innovative.
He said it would also connect them to the final end-users, thus make shopping an entertaining and educational experience.
“The central location of the market makes it easily reachable by public transport as its proximity to the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) corridor further complements Lagosians’ ease of accessibility.
“The venue also makes it easy for farmers and primary producers to supply volumes of food appropriate for customers whether they are single shoppers or a family,” he said.
He said the each of the market day would be dedicated to a South-West state to promote regional integration and provide opportunity for farmers to showcase their indigenous produce.
“In addition to the above, we shall also be dedicating any market day that falls within any of the festive periods such that we shall be having the Easter, Ileya, Ramadan and Christmas editions,“ he said.
Lawal said the genesis of the Eko city farmers’ market was part of the recommendation at the Stakeholders’ Summit the Ministry held in September 2019 during which the issue of agricultural produce market was discussed.
“Again, as you are well aware, agricultural produce come into Lagos State from all southwestern states without protocol and a percentage of post-harvest loss is huge,” he said.
Lawal urged Lagosians, including Community Development Associations and Cooperative Societies, to take advantage of the opportunity to buy their agric or farm produce at farm gates prices from the farmers.
Mrs Nurat Atoba, President, Lagos State Catfish and Allied Farmers’ Association (LASCAFAN), commended the Lagos state government for the initiative.
Atoba said the Eko City Farmers’ Market would create the platform for its members as well as remove activities of middlemen in the fish value chain.
“The challenge for our members before now has always been market and pricing, but with this initiative, our problem will be addressed.
“I urge Lagos residents to come out enmass to patronize our farmers and buy produce fresh and at affordable prices,” she said.