Lagos State government has trained 97 Senior Secondary School Agricultural Science students, Agricultural Science teachers and Education Desk Officers under its Y2021 Agricultural Summer School Programme.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Abisola Olusanya, disclosed this at the closing ceremony of the programme in Lagos, explaining that the programme was aimed at encouraging the youths to grow into a more productive labour force as adults thereby solving to a reasonable extent the problem of unemployment as well as mitigate the possible effects of global food crisis.
The commissioner, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Hakeen Adeniji, further disclosed that 84 Senior Secondary School Agricultural Science students and 13 Education Officials, including Education Desk Officers (Agric) and Agricultural Science teachers drawn from the six educational districts in the state participated at the programme.
According to her, each participant had undergone both theoretical training in livestock production, fisheries, crop production and agro-processing and practical training in the various value chains, recalling that the Agricultural Summer School Programme, usually a two–week event, was first implemented in 2011 to further stimulate the interest and awareness of students in Agriculture.
“The Agricultural Summer School Programme was first implemented in 2011 to further stimulate the interest and awareness of students in Agriculture.
“The Programme, usually a two–week event, is organized on an annual basis during the long vacation, for Senior Secondary School students offering Agricultural Science as well as their Agricultural Science teachers drawn from public Senior Secondary Schools across the six Education Districts in the State.
“Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this year’s programme is being held at the Lagos State Agricultural Development Authority, Oko-Oba, Agege, instead of the usual two-week residential on-farm Summer School training within the premises of the Agricultural Training Institute in Araga, Epe,” she said.
“Since the inception of the Agricultural Summer School Programme in 2011 till date, no fewer than 642 students and teachers have participated in the programme with 544 being students and 98 being Education Officials,” Olusanya added.
The commissioner stated that the Summer School Programme had enabled students to understand more about agriculture as a subject and had been practically shown that agriculture, when well-managed, is a reputable and profitable business venture.
Oluasanya opined that the vision of the state as related to agriculture was sustainable food production, wealth and job creation through youth and women empowerment with significant private sector involvement, adding that the State’s Development Plan in Agriculture is to move the present local food production from 18per cent to 40per cent of the state’s food demand by the year 2025.
Speaking further, the commissioner said the state government had been providing different platforms for youths’ engagement through training, capacity building and empowerment via her various agricultural projects and programmes in different value chains, pointing out that this had contributed to job creation, youth empowerment and poverty alleviation.
According to her, such programmes include the Schools’ Agricultural Programme (SAP); the Agro-Processing, Productivity, Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project; the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (L.A.P.); the Cage and Pen Culture Programme; the Young Africa Works Programme in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Africa Projects Development Centre (APDC) and the Mastercard Foundation, among others.
She, therefore, expressed her sincere appreciation to the State Ministry of Education for the usual support towards all of her ministry’s projects and programmes most especially those which required students’ participation, praying for “continued and strengthened synergy” for the two bodies.
“I would also like to wish all the Senior Secondary School students, Education Officials, Education Desk Officers (Agric) and Agricultural Science Teachers who have participated in this year’s Agricultural Summer School Programme continued success in all your future endeavours,” Olusanya said.
A 2017 beneficiary of the programme and an undergraduate of the Department of Fisheries, University of Lagos, Misturah Ahmed, expressed delight at the Agricultural Summer School Programme which, according to her, had helped shape her career in the agriculture space.
Misturah explained that the decision to study Fisheries at the University was borne out of her experience during the 2017 Summer Camp, adding that she had had no regrets whatsoever.
She, therefore, urged the present participants to think of agriculture not only as an activity but as a profitable business and a career that they can build a life on.
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