Lagos State Government on Sunday flagged-off emergency neighbourhood food markets to address the problem associated with the restriction and promote social distancing in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Gbolahan Lawal, said during an inspection tour to some of the markets in Lagos that there were 25 of such food markets across the state.
Lawal said that the neighbourhood food markets were established to provide Lagosians access to food supplies during this restrictive period and prevent panic buying following closure of all markets and stores trading in non-essential commodities.
He added that the markets were makeshift within the neighbourhood to enable families without the capacity to buy food stuffs in bulk have access to a market during the current restriction in the state.
The commissioner explained that the markets would also enable residents and shoppers buy produce and other everyday needs such as beverages, vegetables, fish, poultry products, bread and other essential needs at competitive, affordable and farm gate prices.
“Today, we are flagging-off the emergency neighbourhood food markets setup by the state government in selected schools to bring markets closer to the people.
“Essentially, what we are going to see here is how a market is brought closer to the community. We don’t want a situation where people have to travel far in public transportation thereby exposing them to the danger of the spread of COVID-19.
“By the time people know there is a neighbourhood market within the area which people can just walk 200 meters to the place, they would be oblige to make use of such market.
“It is also important to let people know that it is not all Lagosians that have the capacity to bulk purchase produce and store in their homes.
“There are some families that do not have the capacity to bulk purchase because they are daily earners, such people you know because of the restriction, they are not able to get enough money.
“Those families can come here, buy few things they need like beverages, vegetables, fish, bread, eggs and poultry products during this period. It is a typical grocery store like we have in other developed countries,” he said.
Lawal explained that the markets would hold again on April 1 and April 4 and urged residents to take advantage of it to meet their food and other agriculture needs.
He said that both the state ministries of Agriculture and Health had put in place safety guidelines at each of the food and agricultural markets but advised shoppers to adhere strictly to safety measures and ensure social distancing while shopping.
Lawal said that the produce dealers had assured the state government of their readiness to keep supplies flowing unhindered, hence, t”is no need for panic buying.”
The commissioner, therefore, advised residents to take individual responsibility during the restrictive period by acting positively so that the chain of COVID-19 transmission could be broken in the state.
A resident, Mr Kayode Adebari, commended the state government for setting up the makeshift market to ease challenges of having to travel long distance to shop.
Adebari told NAN at the Ogudu makeshift market that the market was relatively cheap and affordable.
He, however, called for more awareness on the existence of such market within the neighbourhood.
He also commended Lagos government’s swift action at curtailing the spread of COVID-19 in the state and urged other governments to emulate it.
“This morning, I heard that the Lagos state government have setup a makeshift market in Ogudu so I decided to come and patronise it. So far, the prices of food items like eggs and beverages are cheap.
“I like the idea because it reduces the risk of people traveling far and exposing themselves to the coronavirus.
“I commend the government and urge them to create more awareness on the market,” he said.(NAN)