21st December, 2010
The Lagos State government has takenÂ steps to empower youths through agriculture, with the sole aim of boosting food production and security in the state.
The empowerment programme is under the state governmentâ€™s Agriculture Youth Empowerment Scheme, YES. YES is a programme aimed at training at least 1,000Â youths in mechanised agriculture in the next five years, with 100 youths trained annually in Epe area of the state.
The programme seeks to breed a new generation of Agro-entrepreneur, create employment and ensure food security in the state. The Agric-YES programme hasÂ continued to do better than imagined.
The scheme is a joint project of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Projects, Mr. Gbolahan Lawal and the Ministry of Agriculture andÂ Cooperatives. The first 100 students graduated at the weekend and will be empowered to go into mechanized agriculture.
The first 100 set of trainees were housed in comfortable hostels with three meals daily and a monthly stipend from the state government at the Lagos StateÂ Agriculture Training Institute Araga, Poka, Epe.
The youths had spent six months of their studies on intensive practical based training, centering on various farming areas, such as vegetables farming,Â poultry, aqua-culture, bee keeping and agric business. The last six months was spent on the commercial farming and internship programme.
The programme made provision for the best nine students to proceed on a two-month internship in Israel. Nine interns left the shores of the country on 5Â October, 2010 and were exposed to international best practices and management techniques in agriculture.
The interns, comprising four male and five female, arrived the country last week, lamenting that latest technologies in agriculture in Israel could not beÂ found in Nigeria.
They visited different farm settings as well as met with foremost agriculturist and industrialists. They returned to the country with commendable reports andÂ applicable working manuals.
Receiving the interns on arrival,Â Mr. Lawal on behalf of Governor Fashola said the weekly reports that had been received while they were in Israel and theÂ Working Manual they had presented would be studied and implemented on farms in Lagos.
Lawal urged the trainees to impact all they had learnt on Agric-YES farmers, adding that they would serve as job creators and protectors for the people inÂ the farming business, by correcting the wrongs.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Dr. Yakub Basorun, commended the students for being good ambassadors of Lagos State throughoutÂ their stay in Israel.
Basorun advised them to share their wealth of experience with the rest of their colleagues since that was the primary reason for their internship abroad.