By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Government in collaborating with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Africa Projects Development Centre, APDC, has concluded plans to train 13,548 youths in the state in the various agricultural value chains in a five-stage model within the next five years.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya disclosed this on Monday, at the opening of the Young Africa Works Agribusiness Internship Orientation Training, held at the Lagos State Agricultural Development Authority, Oko-Oba, Agege.
She noted that participants in the training programme would be trained in order to build skills and secure fulfilling work opportunities within the agriculture value chains.
According to her, the IITA would in total provide skills to over 40,000 youths and enable 242,724 young women and men across Nigeria to secure dignified and fulfilling work in the agricultural value chains within the five-year model adding that in Lagos, a total of 13,548 youths including 3,120 secondary school students would participate in the Programme.
“I am particularly delighted to be in your midst today on the occasion of the opening ceremony of the Young Africa Works Agribusiness Internship Orientation Training being implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Africa Projects Development Centre (APDC) in partnership with the Lagos State Government.
“I have been told that the Young Africa Works-IITA Project is an innovative approach to agribusiness training and start-up for Nigeria’s young people which is focused on improving the livelihoods of youths and teenagers by impacting in them the needed skills to do viable agribusiness within their communities.
“I have also been reliably informed that IITA seeks to provide skills to over 40,000 youths and enable 242,724 young women and men to secure dignified and fulfilling work in agricultural value chains in a five-stage model within a period of five years. Specifically, for Lagos State, a total of 13,548 youths including 3,120 secondary school students are expected to participate in this Programme,” the Commissioner stated.
Olusanya disclosed that the state government was particularly interested in the partnership as it was in tune with the goal of recruiting more youth, teenagers, and women into the agricultural space for a while in order to replace the ageing farmers as well as to increase food production, create employment opportunities, alleviate poverty, and boost income generation in the State.
She stated programmes such as the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (L.A.P), the Lagos Food Production Center, the Schools’ Agricultural Programme (S.A.P), the Summer School Programme, the World-Bank assisted FADAMA and APPEALS Projects have been carrying out series of training especially for the youth and women to ensure increased food security in the State and reduce her level of dependence on other States for food.
“When we talk about food security, we are talking along the lines of production, linkages to the consumers, productivity required of our farming community such that they also see sustainability around what they do so that they can be motivated to put in more investment within that space such that the financial sector will be able to support and in the process, we will see a bigger and more holistic food system in the State and Country at large.
“This training capacity building programme is a step in the right direction and it is in line with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda where agriculture constitutes a major part of making Lagos a 21st Century economy.
“What we see is that we have a huge population of youthful people most of whom are not gainfully employed and with the skillset deficiency required especially in a space like agriculture. With this initiative to train over 40,000 people in Lagos, Kano and Kaduna specifically 13,548 in Lagos, we believe that we should be able to close the gap around the deficits we have in our food supply system,” she asserted.