Lagos State Government has said that it has established different farming enterprises to train and teach students in modern farming techniques as well as to encourage those who would like to pursue a career in agriculture under the State’s Schools’ Agricultural Programme (SAP).
The State 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 this was necessary in order to ensure that students and youths embrace agriculture to fill the void left by aging farmers.
She disclosed that the goal was 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 as such more people needed to be recruited into the agricultural sector especially the young ones.
According to her, this was 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 as well as 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 in the 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 and possibly, 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,” the Acting Commissioner averred.
Olusanya disclosed that 84 Senior Secondary School (SS II) 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.
She noted that the curriculum includes poultry, aquaculture and vegetable farming where the State has competitive and comparative advantage adding 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 Agric-YES Summer School Training Programme, subsequently excel in their SSCE in Agriculture. Such training is expected to encourage the 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,” Olusanya noted.
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 of Education for its unflinching support towards Agricultural programmes which requires the involvement of students under its purview while urging participants to make the most of the training as the State was looking forward to them to help increase its food self-sufficiency status.
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 path, saying that he still applies what he was taught then to his academic, especially the practical aspects.
Also, Udara Promise, a present beneficiary expresses 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.