The Lagos State Government has established different farming enterprises to train and teach students in modern farming techniques as well as encourage those who would like to pursue a career in agriculture under the State’s Schools Agricultural Programme (SAP).
The Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, who disclosed this in Lagos at the opening ceremony of the Y2020 Agric-YES Summer School Programme held at the Lagos State Agriculture Development Authority, Oko-Oba, Agege, noted that the initiative was designed to encourage students and youths to embrace agriculture and, possibly, fill the void left by ageing farmers.
She stated that 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 in order to maintain a healthy life, stressing that the agricultural sector requires more recruits, especially the youths.
She recalled that the annual Agric-YES Summer School two-week training was introduced to hold during the long vacation for SSII students offering Agricultural Science as well as their Agricultural Science teachers who were selected from public Senior Secondary Schools across the six Education Districts in Lagos State.
In her words: “The Agric-YES Summer School Programme is essentially a programme to draw in the youths, our secondary school students, into exploring the possibilities around being in the agricultural sector. There is no better time than just before their SS3. That is before they write their exams into the University and choose a career pathway”.
“We felt that this is the right time for them to see the possibilities around what they can do with the agricultural sector and possibly, we will be able to convince them with the kind of training, particularly the practical aspect of it, to now see the possibilities around being in the agricultural sector. That is the main reason for this programme”, the Acting Commissioner averred.
Olusanya disclosed that 84 Senior Secondary School (SSII) Agricultural Science students; 13 Education Officials including Education Desk Officers (Agric) and Agricultural Science teachers are being trained in groups of sizeable batches per class in livestock production, fisheries, crop production and agro-processing among others.
Explaining that the programme is tailored towards achieving the vision of the State Ministry of Agriculture for sustainable food production as well as wealth and job creation through youth empowerment, Olusanya said the curriculum includes poultry, aquaculture and vegetable farming which are areas of competitive and comparative advantage for Lagos State.
The Acting Commissioner commended the Ministry of Education for its unflinching support towards Agricultural programmes conducted for students and urged participants to make the most of the training as the State expects them to contribute to the food self-sufficiency goals of government.
Speaking earlier, a beneficiary of the Y2014 edition of the Agric-YES Summer School Programme, Ogunfuyi Sulaimon, now a student of Animal Physiology at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, attested to the fact that the programme influenced his choice of career, saying that he still applies the knowledge acquired in his present academic pursuits.
Also, Udara Promise, a present beneficiary expressed hope that she would acquire new skills that would go a long way in shaping her future as she aspires to be a renowned agriculturist.