The Lagos State Government says it has established different farming enterprises under the State’s Schools Agricultural Programme (SAP), to train students on modern farming techniques, to encourage them pursue careers in agriculture.
The State Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, stated this at the opening ceremony of the Year 2020 Agric-YES Summer School Programme on Monday, at the Lagos State Agriculture Development Authority, Oko-Oba, Agege.
Olusanya noted that this was necessary to ensure that students and youths embrace agriculture to fill the void left by aging farmers.
She said that 84 Senior Secondary School (SS II) Agricultural Science students; 13 Education Officials, including Education Desk Officers (Agric) and Agricultural Science teachers were being trained in groups of sizeable batches
“They are being trained in livestock production, fisheries, crop production, agro-processing, poultry, aquaculture and vegetable farming, where the state has competitive and comparative advantage.
“The goal is to provide food security and an enabling environment for the people to have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and hygienic food to maintain a healthy life.
“As such, more people are needed to be recruited into the agricultural sector, especially the young ones,’’ she said.
According to her, this is what informed the introduction of the Agric-YES Summer School Programme, a two-week training which runs on an annual basis during the long vacation for SSII students offering Agricultural Science.
“It is also for their agricultural science teachers drawn from public Senior Secondary Schools across the six Education Districts in Lagos State.
“The Agric- YES Summer School Programme is essentially a programme to draw youths, our secondary school students, into exploring the possibilities around being in the agricultural sector.
“There is no better time, just before their SS3; before they write their exams into the University, for them to choose a career pathway.
“We felt that this is the opportune time for them to see the possibilities around what they can do with the agricultural sector.
“We will be able to convince them with the kind of teachings they will have – the training, the practical aspect of it, for them to now see the possibilities around being in the agricultural sector. That is the main reason for this programme,” she said.
Olusanya said that the vision of the state ministry of agriculture towards sustainable food production, wealth and job creation through youth and women empowerment would be achieved through the Agric-YES Summer School Programme.
“With the introduction of the Agric–YES summer school programme, students are made to understand and are practically shown that agriculture, when well-managed, is a reputable and profitable business venture.
“This programme aims to ensure that students, on their resumption as fresh SSIII students, having imbibed the intensive programme, subsequently excel in their SSCE in Agriculture.
“Such training is expected to encourage youths to grow into a more productive labour force as adults, thereby solving, to a reasonable extent, the problem of unemployment and mitigating the possible effects of global food crisis,” she said.
The acting commissioner explained that participating students were selected from the six Educational Districts in the state, particularly those studying agricultural science, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education.
She commended the Ministry for its support towards agricultural programmes which requires the involvement of students under its purview.
Olusanya urged participants to make the most of the training, as the state was looking forward to them to help increase its food self-sufficiency status.
A beneficiary of the 2014 edition of the Agric-YES programme, Mr Sulaimon Ogunfuyi, now a student of Animal Physiology at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, attested that the programme influenced his choice of career path.
Ogunfuyi said that he still applies what he was taught then to his academics, especially the practical aspects.
Miss Udara Promise, a beneficiary of the programme, expressed hope that she would acquire new skills in agriculture that would go a long way in shaping her future, as she aspires to be a renowned agriculturist