LASG, FAO woo investors to Epe feedlot project

The Lagos State Government and the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) have urged investors to explore the huge opportunities in its proposed 750 hectares cattle feedlot project in Igbodu, Epe.

Mrs Olatokunbo Emokpae, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, stated this at a Stakeholders’ Engagement on the Feasibility and Value Analysis of the Cattle Feedlot Estate, on Friday in Ikeja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the inception workshop of the Technical Cooperation Facility Project Feasibility and Value Chain Analysis of the Red Meat Value Chain, particularly the Cattle Feedlot Estate in Lagos State was organised by the FAO of the United Nations.

Emokpae said the workshop was aimed at exposing investors to the investment opportunities available in the ministry’s Feedlot Estate Project.

He added that the opportunities span cattle production, processing, logistics, beef marketing, and distribution in the state.

“Today’s event will also identify the project capacity needs, evaluate environmental issues that could arise during its implementation and proffer solutions to mitigate them.

“Lagos State with a human population of over 24 million, currently requires a total of 1.4 million heads of cattle valued at over N490 billion annually while local production from existing feedlots in the state is presently 12,000 heads of cattle.

“This leaves a gap of over 1,380,000 head of cattle which is sourced from other states of the federation and neighbouring countries.

“It is, therefore, clear that a viable investment niche exists in this lucrative value chain, which accounts for about five per cent of the state Gross Domestic Product,” she said.

Emokpae noted that in view of the inherent economic potential of cattle production, and the need to enhance the supply of wholesome beef in Lagos, and by extension contribute to the attainment of the state’s food security agenda.

She said that the administration of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu commenced work on the establishment of a cattle feedlot project for which a 750Ha parcel of land was acquired at Igbodu, Epe.

“A total of 250 hectares has been cleared and parceled into lots of five hectares each for allocation to investors.

“The feedlot project will also facilitate beef traceability among many other health benefits for Lagosians, generate income for investors, create jobs, and stimulate economic activities within the project community.

“It is envisaged that the project will be replicated in the three senatorial districts of the state over time.

“Aside from investing in the feedlot project, opportunities also exist in other areas of the red meat value chain of which investors can take advantage and make good returns on investment.

“Presently, 18 semi-mechanised abattoirs and eight

mechanized abattoirs have been established in various locations across the state.

“In this direction, the state government is blazing the trail through the establishment of the Lagos State By-Product Processing Centre at Oko- Oba Agege.

“This centre which is the first of its kind in the country is almost at the completion stage,” she said.

She commended the FAO team for the innumerable support availed the ministry not only for the feedlot project but also in the development of the coconut value chain.

She encouraged all participants, members of the Organised Private Sector, and other development partners to come on board and join Lagos state in actualising the dream of making the state food-secured.

In his remarks, Mr Fred Kafeero, the FAO Representative to Nigeria, solicited the full cooperation of all stakeholdets during the meeting.

Kafeero was represented by Mrs Adeola Akinrinlola, Project Officer.

He said that the FAO would continue to provide strategic support to national development programme and strategies aimed at reducing poverty, improving food security and management of natural resources.

“It is worthy of note to mention here that Lagos State Government has demonstrated high commitment to develop the livestock sector through establishment of the cattle feedlot farm estate.

“It is a private sector led initiative whereby government allocates land for small, medium and large feedlot operations within the estate.

“The government will also provide common infrastructure and sanitary services on a cost recovery basis.

“It was within this context that the state government requested for FAO technical support the implementation if the initiative.

“To respond to this request, FAO designed a Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) facility to access all aspects of the proposed feedlot project, including technical, economic, financial and environmental consideration.

“This is to determine valid reasons to advance the project idea, improves the focuse of the project and provides useful information for the project implementation.

“I am glad to let you know that FAO will provide in a timely, efficient and cost effective manner, a range of managerial and technical advisory services.

“This will be done through a combination of FAO field staff, technical backstopping mission, consultancies and other contractual arrangements to the study.

In his welcome address, Dr Rasheed Macaulay, Director, Veterinary Services in the ministry, said very few commercial cattle farms exist in the state with total annual production of 12,000 cattle per annum.

Macaulay said that it was appropriate for all stakeholders along the red meat value chain to be informed of the importance of exploring the opportunities in the Feedlot estate project.

“As a way forward for the implementation of the project, the ministry has secured the by-in of 36 investors who have already subscribed for allocations at the Feedlot estate.

“These subscribes will move to site as soon as the allocation of lots is concluded by the government.

“We strongly believe that this exercise by the combined technical team of the FAO, state government and cooperation of relevant stakeholders along the value chain, shall contribute significantly to the success and sustainability of the project in term of efficiency and effectiveness,” he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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