In a move set to increase food production, create employment opportunities, alleviate poverty, and boost income generation, the Lagos State Government is collaborating with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Africa Projects Development Centre (APDC) to train 13,548 youths in the various agriculture value chains in the state.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya said at the opening ceremony of the Young Africa Works Agribusiness Internship Orientation Training at the Lagos State Agricultural Development Authority, Oko-Oba, Agege on Monday that the participants would be trained to build skills and secure fulfilling work opportunities within the agriculture value chains.
She said that the Young Africa Works Project of the IITA was a strategic approach to agribusiness training to arouse the interest of youths and teenagers in the agricultural space to enable them make a decent living out of it.
“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.
“The training will impart 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 fivestage 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 said.
Olusanya said 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 in order to replace the aging farmers.
She said the partnership was also in tune with goals to increase food production, create employment opportunities, alleviate poverty, and boost income generation in the state.
Olusanya noted that programmes such as the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (LAP), the Lagos Food Production Center, the Schools’ Agricultural Programme (SAP), the Summer School Programme, the World-Bank assisted FADAMA and APPEALS Projects had been carrying out series of trainings.
She said that such programmes had provided training especially for the youth and women to ensure increased food security in the state and reduce its 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.
“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 and 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 skill set 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 said.
The commissioner said that the initiatives of the state government had indeed provided different platforms for youth engagement through training, capacity building and empowerment in different agriculture value chains.
This, she said, was contributing to job creation, youth empowerment and poverty alleviation.
Olusanya commended the novel strategy being offered by the combined efforts of International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)/Africa Projects Development Centre (APDC) to train the youths.
“The Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture is, therefore, delighted to be a part of this laudable programme as it is very much in line with our aims and objectives.
“You can be rest assured of the support of the Lagos State government at all times,” she said.