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Agriculture, Economy

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.

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Government, Health

The Lagos State Government has approved the sum of N200 million to support the Federal Government Treatment Centres in treating COVID-19 cases in the state with the fund to be disbursed on Monday, February 1.

The State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu in a statement highlighted the update on the management of COVID-19 in the state.

“I have approved the sum of N200 million to support the ongoing patient management and treatment efforts of two Federal Government Treatment Centers in our state.

“This is in view of the rising profile of the coronavirus disease due to the mutating variants now being discovered globally; and to shore up our containment and management capacity.

“To this end, LUTH will be receiving N150 million and the Federal Medical Center, Ebute Metta, will be receiving N50 million. These sums will be disbursed on Monday, February 1,´´ Sanwo-Olu said.

He said that Lagos State continued to be the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria and as at Jan. 29, 2021, had recorded a total of 47,871 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The governor said that of the 47,871 cases, 34,094 had recovered while 9,856 were currently active in community.

He said that over the last 12 months, about 3,988 COVID-related patients had been admitted into the various care centres across the state; with a registered fatality rate of approximately 0.63 per cent (301 deaths).

Sanwo-Olu said that currently, Lagos State had 21 private and four public health laboratories accredited for COVID-19 testing.

He said that so far, a total of 316,801 samples had been tested, with 47,871 diagnosed as “positive´´.

“The test positivity ratio for January 2021 is 24 per cent, which means that one out of every four tests returns positive. This is the highest monthly average recorded in the last six months.

“It should be stressed that testing is free at all Lagos State public health laboratories, for all persons who fall within the case definition.

“The case definition includes persons who have symptoms such as fever, cough, cold, inability to smell or taste, headaches or general body weakness – or those who have come into close contact with anyone with any of these symptoms.

“Testing at our public health facilities will continue to remain free but cannot be used for travel purposes.

“Anyone wishing to test as a requirement for either outbound or inbound travel or other work-related requirements must do so at any of the 21 private laboratories accredited by Lagos State for COVID testing,´´ Sanwo-Olu said.

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