Lagos Committed to Crashing Rising Cost of Food, Encourages Young Farmers into Agric Sector to Replace Aging Farmers

The Lagos State Government says it remains committed to reducing the rising cost of food items by encouraging young farmers to enter the state’s agricultural sector.

The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, gave this indication at the opening of the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme held at the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) in Araga, Epe.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Emmanuel Audu, Olusanya said that the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (LAP) was conceived by Governor Sanwo-Olu to provide world-class agricultural training to young, dynamic youths for direct engagement in farming and job creation.

She explained that the month-long training was designed to change the narrative around farmers being poor citizens, enhancing food production and supply in the metropolis.

According to her, the state consumes food valued at 7 trillion naira, of which 24% is produced within the state. “We plan to scale production to 40% of total demand,” she stated.

She added that the training was meant to add value to the entire value chain in the sector, saying it will also assist in the gradual replacement of the aging farmer population.

The commissioner disclosed that the initiative, flagged off in 2020, trains about 1,200 young dynamic farmers every year.

Abisola Olusanya further said that Lagos consumes between 8,000 and 10,000 cattle on a daily basis, most of which are brought into the state. She explained that the cattle feedlot in Igbodu, Epe, was established to address this.

The commissioner also noted that about 40 youths are currently being trained on how to sell meat to residents in a very hygienic manner to ensure people get value for their money through the Lagos State Butchers Academy and the Last Mile Meat Shops project.

The training, according to her, is broken into three sections. Participants are expected to spend a month at the Institute, undergo an assessment phase to test their knowledge of the program, and then go on a three-month internship and mentorship phase in commercial farms.

On her part, the Director of the Institute, Mrs. Folake Ogunlana-Lawal, said the training was to prepare them to become successful agripreneurs, urging them to remain focused and learn.

She described the program as a “catch them young” initiative, adding that the choice of environment was to avoid any distraction from usual worldly affairs.

The Director thanked the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, for sustaining the platform to encourage vibrant youths to enter the agricultural sector.

She disclosed that various departments in the ministry share the vision of the Commissioner, adding that there is no doubt in her capacity to deliver on her mandate.

According to her, they are starting a prosperous journey together and congratulated them for being there to chart a new way forward for the sector.

She urged them to maintain the enthusiasm with which they have come into the Institute, expressing hope that they will soon become ambassadors of the Ministry.

In his vote of thanks, Mr. Adesola Odofin thanked the state Governor for supporting the program and the Commissioner for her commitment to the Institute over the years.

He also applauded the Permanent Secretary for always finding time to swiftly attend to their needs at the Institute.

The Lagos Agripreneurship Programme, which kicked off in 2020 by the Sanwo-Olu-led government, has so far produced 3,800 young farmers in the agricultural sector.

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