“If the Bible has Instructed Us to have Dominion over the earth as humans, it means we were born Leaders or born to Lead. Leading effectively has to begin with ourselves before it advance to others, We should be able to control our goals, ambition and aspirations in order for our Agendas to resonate with others”.
Leadership in context from the Acting Commissioner For Agriculture Lagos State, Ms Abisola Ruth Olusanya as she explained.
Ikorodu News Network (INN) was Privileged to have a Chat with the Administrative Head in Charge of Agriculture in Lagos State Today.
INN: You celebrated your birthday a week ago which has also been a reflection of your One Year in this Administration, What has been your experiences sofar in office?
Abisola Olusanya: People are motivated and inspired by their Leader, For their tendencies to make strategic planning and decisions, To utilising Team Spirit and Precision in executing projects.
This is how high I REGARD, APPRECIATE and COMMEND the LEADERSHIP of MR BABAJIDE OLUSHOLA SANWO-OLU, The EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR Of LAGOS STATE for his leadership, which has generally enhanced our Performances at this point.
He is a MENTOR to alot of us especially ME and the experiences has been PHENOMENAL.
In the past One year I can say confidently that it has been an easy transition due to the fact that our LEADER Mr Governor is one with POISED experience from both the private and public sector, Which made it an added advantage to us in terms of decision making and discharging of our duties.
This Administration has been faced with Challenges in such a short term that was never foreseen in a century (Covid-19), But under this Government we can both attest to the fact that Lagos has seen the best hands on deck to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 Pandemic.
When the lockdown was effected back on March 30th, Lagos State was the first to carry out Food Palliative in Africa, not just Nigeria.
Having the right Leader & also the right set of Team around the Leader goes a long way to Strengthen the government.
We have a fantastic Team in the cabinet from all works of life ready to deliver. Also in the Public sector, You will come across different gifted and dynamic individuals you can learn and tap knowledge from on weekly basis.
The experience to be garnered from the Public sector will take a long time to acquire at the private sector, Why? Because the progressive implementations of the Public sector cuts across all industries that sustains the private sector.
INN: How did you meet the Agricultural Sector in Lagos State, And in the last One Year what have this Administration done to improve it?
Abisola Olusanya: Coming in, Alot of transformational Initiatives was brought to the forefront by past Administrations, But along the line there was a gap probably due to lack of funding, Which made them stopped functioning.
But in this Administration alot of those Initiatives has been revived or are on the point of revival due to the scaling size of their strategic planning & logistics.
The AGRIC-YES PROGRAM, Which is a YOUTH EMPOWERMENT SCHEME can be likened to the Training Arm of the Ministry of Agriculture today.
It is a Platform for training and empowering the youths in the Agricultural Sector to become Agripreneurs.
That Initiative has been revived & the program will continue for the rest of this year with strict adherence to the CoVid-19 guidelines.
Alot of our Farm Estate & Settlement were delapidated and abandoned, Most of them have not been effectively utilised.
Presently we’re pushing earnestly to make changes across the board like The ODOGUNYAN Fish Farm Estate in Ikorodu. That Estate is experiencing Challenges around it, But we are working to reorganise and empower it’s management in order to elevate the standards to which the Estate was built for.
There are some Farm Estates that has not even seen the light of day in terms of utilities & productivity like The Kayterayu Fish Farm Estate.
This Administration is rejuvenating the sector by funding them to boast resources and ensuring the Infrastructures serve their purposes.
It will essentially result in a clusters of Agricultural value chains that will give us a positive market edge eventually.
Aqua Culture or fisheries is another targetted area for this Administration because we also have the competitive advantage there.
Lagos is the city of Aquatic Splendor, We have water all around us and thus we should be in the fish business like no order State in Nigeria, We should be number one in sub Sahara Africa.
The goal now is to cordinate these Estates we have, which are meant for fish farming to be fully utilised to the maximum by ensuring the right set of manpower and Partners get involved.
When that happens production will be commercially on a large scale as opposed to the normal decentralized margin of supplies which is insufficient by all means.
We still have the Poultry, Piggery and vegetables.
You can see what we are doing with the Rice Value Chain, The IMOTA RICE MILL which is the largest in Africa with propensity to produce 32 metric tons per hour.
When Mr. GOVERNOR came into office the Rice mill was initially Operating at a 15% progress level, But today it’s up to 75% completion stage which is cited in Ikorodu.
It is our hope and prayers that the Mill will be up and running by DECEMBER 2020 for it to start the production of rice in Lagos.
Great strides is made by this Administration to aid the upgrade of our Agric value chain as we speak.
LAGOS is a MARKET and it should be the centre for processing and adding value. It means that even if produce from other states are brought here then we should have the capacity to add value to it by making it a ‘HIGHER-EARN PRODUCT’.
For example if we have tomatoes coming into the State, Then we should be able to have Processor Centres to make out tomato paste and then export it to other places as well for profits.
More Importantly, Our agenda is to make Agriculture more TECH ENABLED.
LAGOS is a MEGACITY with a 21st Century ECONOMY, This implies that we must align Agriculture in Lagos State with advance Technological measures to enhance our product values.
Though some commercial farms are beginning to adopt Technologies, But largely our small holder farmers are still lacking behind which we need to change.
Mr GOVERNOR is passionate about our numerous drives & we shall be having the Ministry Of Innovation and Technology helping us in that regard.
INN: We can at this point say that you’re moving at a good pace to realise great results which must be applauded. Briefly, Can you tell us about the AGRICULTURAL VALUE CHAIN EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM going On currently?
Abisola Olusanya: If you recour I was pointing on measures to which this Administration is working to reviving our Agricultural Sectors across-the-board.
Now with the advent of Covid-19 pandemic alot of our farmers suffered loses. During the Lockdown they couldn’t sell their produce, some of those produce perished in the process.
This AGRICULTURAL VALUE CHAIN EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM is a form of palliative for our farmers & producers, Be it livestock or crops, To alleviate their pains, mitigate their loses and create a subsidy for the accruals of loses they made during this period.
The program is actually not for the producers alone, We are looking at everyone in the AGRIC VALUE CHAIN, Which implies you don’t necessarily have to be a farmer or a producer.
You could be a marketer at the end of the chain or a logistics provider in the middle of the chain yet you’re a benefactor from this Program.
If you look at the chain Critically, It’s obvious that whatever affects the beginning will truncate both the middle and the end of the chain.
This is why the program is meant to assist all prospects in the chain in order to revive their ventures.
We will be giving out feeds to producers so they can grow their products, And also supporting marketers with eggs to sell and make money.
The essence of this Initiative is to spur the Lagos economy and stir up the market towards recovery
Though the Initiative is not new but it’s essential at this time that we give such support to the sector to Foster growth.
INN: Thank You Soo much for taken time out of your busy schedule to attend to us. Lastly before we wrap up this session, What is your Advice to Everyone looking up to you as a Role Model?
Abisola Olusanya: You must know what you’re made of.
It means you should know what you’re bringing to the table, Place value on yourself nomatter where you’re found.
Doors can be opened for you to have access to a room, But it’s the value you bring that will keep you in that room.
As long as you believe in yourself and what you can offer the sky will be your starting point.
Don’t forget, Together we can work towards food security solutions!
God Bless You!