Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya has charged the latest 100 women and youths graduands of the State Agripreneurship Programme to be commited to the attainment of the Government’s food security goal.
Olusanya who stated this over the weekend at the closing and graduation ceremony of the second batch of the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme at the Agricultural Training Institute, Araga, Epe further reiterated the commitment of the State Government to engage, equip and empower women and youth particularly to become world class Agripreneurs.
The Commissioner who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya noted that the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme was conceptualized by the administration of the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to solve the hydra-headed problem of women and youth unemployment in the State.
“It has become increasingly obvious that if a bold step is not taken to address the issue of youth and women unemployment, the state may become a hot bed for symptoms of youth restiveness.
“Previous administrations have embarked on a journey to create jobs, alleviate poverty and ensure food security in Lagos State through the establishment of Agriculture-based Youth Empowerment Scheme, popularly known as Agric-Yes. Over the years 600 youths have been trained in various Agricultural value chains,” she averred.
The Commissioner added that the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme was set up with the aim of training and empowering a much larger number of women and youth in Agricultural value chains including Aquaculture, Poultry, Piggery and Vegetable as well as Enterprenuership skills and E-Agric.
She disclosed that the purpose was to train 15,000 women and youth at the various training facilities across the state by the year 2023 which is in line with objective of promoting Agriculture in order to make the State a 21st century economy in the line with the T.H.E.M.E.S Developmental Agenda of the current administration.
Olusanya revealed that the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme which was flagged off on the 10th of February, 2020 has, so far, trained a total of 300 participants made up of 200 in Batch 1 and 100 in Batch 2 in an intensive Agriculture Programme.
The Commissioner explained that the plan was to train a minimum of 2000 beneficiaries in this year but the lockdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic distorted the programme significantly, hence the delay in the implementation of the training of Batch 2 which commenced on the 4th Of November, 2020.
She stated that in keeping with the guidelines of NCDC with respect to social and physical distancing, the number of participants was reduced to 100.
“We are strongly committed to the implementation of the second phase of the programme which includes partnership with existing farms/agribusinesses with a view to attaching beneficiaries to agribusinesses closest to their location of residence for internships pending linkage to sources of finance; facilitation of access to financing; the establishment of additional enterprise-specific Farm Estates across the State where participants could be allocated land space according to enterprise of interest and location; among other benefits,” Olusanya asserted.
Speaking earlier, the Director of the Agricultural Training Institute, Mr. Adeyinka Omirin explained that during the one-month training, participants were exposed to theoretical and practical trainings stating that Entrepreneurship and E-Agriculture modules were also incorporated into the programme.
He expressed confidence that with the level of engagement experienced during the programme, participants would not find it difficult to make remarkable impact in the agricultural space locally and internationally.
One of the granduand, Mr. Gabriel Oludare who spoke on behalf of the other participants appreciated the State Government for coming up with such a productive initiative saying that they all have been ably equipped to conquer the agricultural space and make a mark in contributing to the food security objective of the State.