Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Sunday said every effort will be made to sustain the annual Lagos Food Festival and ensure that it continues to grow bigger, better and greater as Africa’s first choice all-inclusive event to positively project the diverse angles of the food industry.
The Governor spoke at the 2022 edition of the festival held at the Muri Okunola Park, Victoria Island, Lagos where he also participated in cooking and tasting the different delicacies.
The festival is organized annually by the State Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and it brings together food enthusiasts, regulatory authorities, industry players, and the general public from across Africa, to advance food security, promote local delicacies, boost the state’s tourism potential and showcase agricultural commodities produced in Lagos to the international market.
“I am happy to be here. This festival celebrates the essence of our local delicacies and the innovative way in which they are prepared. It continues to be bigger, better, and greater. It’s an honour to be here this evening and I have filled up already with all of the great food that we have here.
“I celebrate all the vendors that are here. You all have prepared great food and I thank you very much for being part of this festival. I am hoping that everybody takes something back home. This is our culture, this is our heritage, this is who we are, and this is Lagos,” the Governor said.
He said the state government was proud of the innovation and positive energy introduced into cooking and assured that every effort would be made to ensure the sustainability of the festival.
“We are indeed proud of our heritage; we are proud of what we are turning our dishes, our cuisine, and our meals into. So, go out there and tell the world that this is Lagos and have fun. This festival has come to stay. I was at this festival in 2020, I was here last, I am here this year and I will be here next year as your Governor,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya said plans are underway to ensure that the Lagos Food Festival is not only sustained but made to become bigger, especially with the coming on board of more manufacturers.
She said it was also gratifying that the Lagos agricultural industry was growing in leaps and bounds, revealing that the sector crossed the N1 billion threshold in 2021 for the very first time in the history of the Ministry.
“We are anticipating that by the end of this year, we should be touching about N1.2 billion in revenue. Last year, we generated roughly a little over N1 billion. This year was tougher because obviously due to the electioneering process and the general glut in the system. Then also, the Russia-Ukraine War and instability economy-wise impacted a lot of our food processors and producers here.
“Regardless, the Ministry of Agriculture still did all it could and we are hoping to end this year on an N1.25 billion note. For, what I’m really happy about is that last year, we did N1 billion for the very first time in the existence of the Ministry since 1967.
“It is not a fluke that this Ministry is indeed a billion-naira industry. It’s a billion-dollar industry but last year, we crossed N1billion, and this year, we repeated it even under the most strenuous circumstances, meaning if everything were to be so good, we should be crossing over N5billion in revenues annually, and when we consider new ideas, innovations and projects, it should be much more. So, we are hoping that next year, we should be crossing the threshold of N3 billion,” Olusanya said.
In the cooking competition that was held as part of the festival, the Ghanaian Jollof rice emerged as the overall best, followed by Togo, Nigeria, and Kenya respectively.
According to the judges, the jollof rice prepared by chefs from the respective countries was rated based on the texture, cooking method, and taste.