The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, has urged the Federal Government to set a day aside as public holiday to celebrate the contributions of farmers to development of the nation.
Olusanya made the call during a road walk and sensitisation organised by the Lagos state government as part of activities to commemorate the 2022 World Food on Thursday.
Recall that World Food Day is an annual celebration by Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations held on Oct.16, to encourage action on food insecurity.
The theme for 2022 is “Leave No One Behind. Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment and a Better Life”.
The commissioner said that in Ghana, Dec. 6, of every year is called farmers’ day and declared as a public holiday, where the President recognises the best farmer in the country.
“For that reason, when you see a Ghanaian farmer, they will tell you that they are proud of their work”, he said.
According to her, farmers are the bedrock of any society and deserve to be respected, appreciated, awarded and recognised.
She said that the 2022 World Food Day was a congregation of all those that had held the country together, particularly during emergency such as COVID-19 and other issues which had happened in the last two years.
“The truth of the matter is that our farmers deserve to be respected, appreciated, awarded and recognised.
“I don’t think we understand the importance of what farmers do for us. I think as Lagosians, most of us believe that we have the entitlement to food.
“We don’t understand the backbone and backbreaking work that it takes for the farmers to produce, get to the market and for you to be able to buy it, prepare and feed yourself.
“The farmers go through a lot. If you look at crops from farm to plate, usually you will have nothing less than seven middlemen between the farmer and the final consumers,” she explained.
The commissioner said it was regrettable that the farmers made the least margin and for that reason, it became discouraging to continue to work.
”Imagine if every farmer decides to leave that line of work and go into telecommunication, technology or get into some sort of business, there will be no food.
”For these people to continue in this line of work, it means that they have persevered, and for that reason, the entire nation should applaud the farmers.
“It takes a lot of effort as a government to continue to give incentive to support farmers to do what they do,” she said.
Olusanya stressed that farmers needed to be celebrated like teachers, adding, ”without the farmers and without the producers, the nation would have nothing.”
She said that the British American Tobacco Foundation, Stanbic IBTC bank, Lashone link farms, Dangote Sugar and refinery and others would be sponsoring events to celebrate farmers.
The commissioner said that no fewer than 10,000 farmers would participate and would be celebrated byGov. Babajude Sanwo-Olu at the grand finale scheduled for Oct. 16.
She noted that farmers from all the 57 Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas would celebrate the day.
“That is what Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is going to do on Oct.16 to applaud our farmers, appreciate and award them, and tell them that without them, there will be no Lagos,” she said.
Olusanya further said that the walk and sensitisation show was put together to create awareness on food and the need to celebrate farmers.
“We’ve taken a walk this morning from Olowu junction, Ikeja, to Alausa Secretariat and I believe its been phenomenal. It’s more of a family walk and people talking about business and Nigeria.
“Next week Sunday, we will be at the Police College, Ikeja for the grand finale,’” she said.(NAN)