*As sales continue in designated centres
By Adeyemi Robinson-Adefioye, Lagos
In its bid to ensure even and fair distribution of Lake Rice product to the nooks and crannies of Lagos, the State Government has sought the participation of major rice distributors in Lagos and signed a partnership agreement with the distributors in the transportation, distribution and marketing of Lake rice.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Food Security, Mr. Ganiyu Okanlawon, who signed the partnership agreement on behalf of the Lagos State Government said the agreement will ensure that residents get Lake Rice not just from designated sales centres but also from the open market at the official government price.
Okanlawon explained that the agreement which is valid for one year in the first instance and may be extended by mutual agreement in writing for additional period, involves major distributors in various rice markets in the State which have the capacity to receive and distribute large tonnes of Lake rice during after the yuletide season.
“The distributors shall transport and market Lake rice, engage in equitable distribution of the product by avoiding hoarding and other sharp practices and ensure all year round continuous and equitable distribution of Lake rice”, he said.
While noting that the need to ensure availability of the product to citizens is key in the State’s drive to attain food sufficiency, the Special Adviser said that food production and self-sufficiency have been given priority attention at State’s policy and strategic level.
Okanlawon who implored the distributors not to default in the agreement assured the distributors of Lagos State Government commitment to keep its end of the bargain.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Olayiwole Onasanya explained the agreement sets out the terms upon which the parties will co-operate with each other for execution of the scheme.
He added the State government will verify claims of address and warehouse or shops of the distributors, approve all business plans before implementation and conduct regular monitoring visits with respect to capacity and effectiveness of the distributor.
Responding on behalf of the distributors, the Iyaloja of Daleko Rice Market, Mrs. Ibilola Sholaja thanked the State Government for the opportunity given to distributors to be part of history in the sale of Lake rice.
She assured the State Government that distributors will abide by the terms of the agreement.