About 97 Senior Secondary School students, agricultural science teachers and education desk officers in Lagos State have been trained under the 2021 Agricultural Summer School Programme to mitigate effect of global food crisis.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, stated this at the closing ceremony of the two-week Agricultural Summer School Programme at the Lagos State Agricultural Development Authority, Oko-Oba, Agege, on Thursday in Lagos.
Olusanya, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Hakeen Adeniji, noted that each participant had undergone both theoretical training in livestock production, fisheries, crop production and agro–processing as well as some practical trainings in the various value chains.
Olusanya said that the programme is aimed at encouraging the youth to grow into a more productive labour force as adults, thereby solving the problem of unemployment as well as mitigate the possible effects of global food crisis.
She said that 84 senior secondary school agricultural science students, 13 education officials, including education desk officers (agric), and agricultural science teachers, drawn from the six educational districts, participated in the programme.
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 organised on an annual basis during the long vacation for Senior Secondary School (SSS) students offering agricultural science as well as their teachers, drawn from public schools across the six education districts in the state.
“Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this year’s programme was held at the Lagos State Agricultural Development Authority, Oko-Oba, Agege, instead of the usual two-week residential on–farm summer school training at the Agricultural Training Institute in Araga, Epe.
“Since the inception of the programme in 2011, no fewer than 544 students and 98 teachers have participated in the programme,” Olusanya said.
The commissioner said that the summer school programme had enabled students to understand more about agriculture as a subject.
She said they had been practically shown that agriculture, when well-managed, is a reputable and profitable business venture.
She noted that the vision of the state in agriculture is sustainable food production, wealth and job creation through youth and women empowerment with significant private sector involvement.
She added that the state’s agriculture development plan is to move the present local food production rate from 18 per cent to 40 per cent by 2025.
Olusanya noted that the state government has been providing different platforms for youths’ engagement through trainings, capacity building and empowerment through its various agricultural projects and programmes in different value chains.
“These programmes have contributed to job creation, youth empowerment and poverty alleviation.
“Some of such programmes include the Schools’ Agricultural Programme (SAP); the Agro-Processing, Productivity, Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project; the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (LAP) and the Cage and Pen Culture Programme.
“The Young Africa Works Programme is collaborating with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA); Africa Projects Development Centre (APDC) and the Mastercard Foundation, among others.
“Let me, therefore, sincerely appreciate the state Ministry of Education for the usual support towards all of our projects and programmes, especially those which require students’ participation,” she said.
A 2017 beneficiary of the programme and an undergraduate of the Department of Fisheries, University of Lagos, Misturah Ahmed, commended the government for sustaining the programme.
Ahmed expressed delight at the programme which according to her, had helped to shape her career in the agriculture space.
She noted that the decision to study fisheries in the university was borne out of her experience during the 2017 summer camp, adding that she had no regrets, whatsoever.
Ahmed, therefore, urged the current participants to think of agriculture not only as an activity but as a profitable business and a career that they could on.