Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal has urged farmers particularly the youth farmers to take Agriculture as a business in order to transform it from subsistence production to commercial and profitable business.
Lawal noted that several opportunities abound in agriculture because each of the agricultural enterprises has various value chains which if properly explored presents great opportunities that are income yielding and very viable.
The Commissioner who spoke in Lagos today at the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund Employment Summit 2020 on how employment could be generated through agriculture in the 21st Century stressed the critical role of agriculture in creating jobs adding that for the purpose of food sufficiency and sustainability, the role of agriculture cannot be over emphasized.
Lawal stated that although agriculture has the potentials of generating streams of jobs in the State if adequately harnessed, many people, especially youths are not exploring the opportunities in the agricultural sector hence he advocated for the revival of agriculture as part of measures to generate jobs on a sustainable basis.
He pointed out that the list of opportunities open to an agripreneur in the renewed drive geared towards making agriculture a revenue spinner and an employment generating medium for the youths of Lagos State and the nation at large is endless thus he appealed to them to take advantage of the potentials in agriculture as there is a shift in focus from oil as the major revenue generator.
“Agriculture, whether livestock, aquaculture or crops, remains a veritable way of escape for us, unfortunately, this is being currently sufficiently untapped. For the purpose of sustainability, the role of agriculture cannot be over- emphasized,” Lawal noted.
According to him, the current statistics of local food production in Lagos, with a population of over 22 million, stands at 18% of the food demand which translates to the fact that over 80% of the food needs of Lagosians are provided for from outside the State.
He noted that the gap therefore presents a window of opportunities which, if properly harnessed, could be a goldmine for the teeming youths and other players in the agricultural sphere.
“Strategically, the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture are geared towards areas of livestock, fisheries, rice and vegetable production where the State has comparative and competitive advantage with diverse investment opportunities and emphasis on value addition. These opportunities can be accessed by discerning investors by keying into numerous Government programme that are deliberately created to facilitate profitable agricultural investments,” the Commissioner averred.
He however conceded that Government must lead the way by making farming attractive to young people through the provision of modern agricultural inputs, equipment, training and other relevant infrastructure, a situation that explains why the State Government is embarking on empowerment programme such as the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (LAP) and the Lagos State Agricultural Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric- YES) to train mostly youths and women to become major stakeholders in the Agricultural sector.
The Commissioner therefore urged every major player in each of the agriculture value chains to encourage the present teeming population of youths to embrace agriculture and explore the various opportunities available therein.