Lagos State Government says it has completed its five-year agricultural master plan to boost food production in the State.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu disclosed in a message to a summit on “Implementation of Exploratory Dialogue of the United Nations Food Systems Summit in the South-West Geopolitical Zone”, that the State had completed its five-year Agric master plan which would be raising its capacity to be a key player in agricultural production, while also creating a marketing platform for the export of local agro-allied products and improving food security.
Mr. Sanwo-Olu, whose message was delivered at the summit by the State Commissioner for Budget & Economic Planning, Mr. Sam Egube, affirmed that the Government was putting in optimum efforts to the agricultural sector and promote a sustainable food system.
He said: “In a bid to also ensure we maximise the opportunities inherent in the agric sector, we have also put in place the Lagos Aquatic Centre of Excellence (LACE), which is a fish-processing centre capable of stimulating our fish capacity production from 20% to over 60%. This will help our people have access to more healthy and nutritious food content and increase the potential of the aquatic sector in the nation.”
While maintaining that rice remains an important staple food in Nigeria, the Governor stated that the 52-tonne per hour rice mill in Ikorodu will soon be completed to enhance food security in the State.
Mr. Sanwo-Olu revealed that the State Government has introduced a number of Agriprenureship programmes like the one set up at Avia-Igborosun, Badagry, to train and expose the youths to the business of agriculture, initiate innovations to the agricultural sector and improve values across the agric chain.
The Lagos Agripreneurship Programme is in furtherance of the State Government’s objective of training no fewer than 15,000 youths and women in the agricultural value chain by the year 2023.
Recruitment of eligible and interested candidates began last year for the several batches of the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme, LAP, under its Agriculture-based Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric-YES).
The one-month training exercise for each batch is aimed at improving capacity, creating wealth and employment in the agricultural value chains – poultry, piggery, aquaculture and vegetables.
LAP is expected to reduce unemployment, create jobs and alleviate poverty in the State, as well as attract and pay more attention to the creation of jobs for women in agribusiness.
Under the first three batches – 1, 2 and 3, 400 participants received training and recruitment and short listing of interested candidates began for Batches 4, 5 and 6 of the programme.
According to the government, the current reality and exigencies of job creation for the teeming youth population and attainment of food security requires that a more aggressive, strategic and efficient approach be employed in the training and empowerment of women and youth, if Lagos State is to achieve a significant reduction of unemployment, create more jobs and wealth and also significantly enhance food security in the State by the year 2023.
The significance of the training would be the creation of 2000 Agro-Entrepreneurs who would, in turn, become job creators, promote food security, improve nutrition and general well-being of Lagosians, as well as create at least 4000 indirect jobs per beneficiary annually.
Other expected results are the enhancement of the economic activities of the surrounding communities, reduction in the overall rate of unemployment, reduction in crime rate within the State and promotion of the State’s target of producing at least 25% of the food consumed by residents before end of the year 2025.
LAP is specifically tailored for men between the ages of 18 and 35 years and women between the ages of 18 and 55 years.