FG’s agriculture mechanisation programme will ensure food security – LCFE

The Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange (LCFE) says the Federal Government’s Food Security and Agricultural Mechanization Programme in Niger will ensure food sufficiency.

LCFE’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Akin Akeredolu-Ale, said this at a media briefing on Wednesday in Lagos.

He said it was a heartwarming warning that four states—Benue, Kogi, Kwara, and Lagos—had already signed MoUs with Niger to build partnerships for the development of agriculture.

“This programme emphasises this administration’s commitment to ensuring food sufficiency and protecting local industries for sustainable economic growth.

“This is a very commendable step because the Nigerian economy can only grow when the producing states work together with the processing and industrial states to grow the economy.

“In Lagos State, the launch of the Lagos Rice Mill, the largest rice mill in Africa and the third largest rice mill in the world, commenced operations H2, 2023, and has produced over 100,000 bags of rice in 2023.

“The mill’s products rival any global rice brand being imported into the country with their quality, taste, and colour,” Akeredolu-Ale said.

He added that the establishment of the Lagos Food Hub in Mushin and the food hubs in different local governments selling food at discounted prices was a welcome development for the state.

According to him, the plan to establish the Food Hub with the collaboration of LCFE in Epe will reduce food losses and further drive down the cost of food in the state.

He, however, stressed the need for stakeholders’ collaboration to boost food security and economic development.

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“There is a major difference between a commodities exchange and commodities traders. An exchange provides structure, price discovery, and a platform for the trading of securities like commodities in a regulated environment.

“Commodity traders, on the other hand, buy and sell commodities in an unregulated environment.

“Commodities exchanges introduce a regulated environment where many stakeholders meet to grow the commodities ecosystem.

“LCFE, since receiving its license in 2019, has propagated the need for the investing community to focus on the commodities ecosystem as not only the next gold mine but a route to driving the GDP of the economy from single digits to double digits.

“LCFE has called for attention to the commodities ecosystem as a one trillion-dollar economy rich in agricultural, oil and gas, and solid mineral commodities,” he said.

Akeredolu-Ale, however, said the Federal Government must address the issues responsible for the current food crisis in the country, such as high transportation costs, insecurity, poor infrastructure, and foreign exchange instability.

He noted the challenges had affected the ability of commodity stakeholders to successfully produce food and transport it to where it is needed.

He said the Exchange had been proactive in its efforts to boost food security, having started trading in paddy rice in 2023, and the LCFE had traded over N600 million worth of paddy rice through registered brokers.

“The Exchange has made notable strides in the past few months with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Lagos State government for the development of the rice mill and the operationalization of the rice mill.

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“Through this partnership, the mill has received over 10,000 metric tonnes of paddy in 2023.

“The Exchange’s goal is to improve supply to the mill 10 fold in 2024,” Akeredolu-Ale said.

The LCFE boss also said the exchange has facilitated over N66 million worth of gold trades through registered commodity brokers since its listing in 2022.

He noted that the LCFE made history as the first exchange in Nigeria to list and trade physical gold coins known as “Eko Gold Coins” in 2022.

“Since its inception, the Exchange has facilitated gold trades exceeding N66 million through registered commodity brokers.

“This innovative digital asset enables investors to invest in as little as 1 gram of gold coin, initially listed at ₦42,500 per gram and closing at ₦65,000 per gram by the end of February 2024,” he said. (NAN)

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