The Lagos State Government has, under its Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric-Yes), introduced a one-month Lagos Agri-preneurship Programme (LAP), to train 200 women and youths in various agricultural value chains.
Mr Gbolahan Lawal, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, said on Thursday in Lagos-Nigeria that the LAP would train the women and youths in poultry, piggery, aquaculture and vegetables value chains.
The programme, which is in furtherance of the state government’s objective of training 15,000 youths and women in the various agricultural value chains by year 2023, is scheduled to start in February.
“The programme which is in phases will start with the one-month training of 200 participants.
“It will improve capacity; create wealth and employment in poultry, piggery, aquaculture and vegetable value chains.
“It will efficiently 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.
“I urge interested participants with passion for Agriculture, who have a minimum of Senior Secondary School Certificate, satisfactory physical and health condition to collect the application forms free of charge at Room 9 at the Ministry in Alausa,’’ he said.
The commissioner said that the application forms for the training, which is to take place at the Lagos State Agricultural Training Institute in Araga, Epe, were now available.
He enjoined interested youths and women to collect the forms at any of the state Agricultural Inputs Supply Authority Offices.
“The current reality and exigencies of job creation for the teeming youth population and attainment of food security require that a more aggressive, strategic and efficient approach be employed in the training and empowerment of women and youths.
“This training becomes important 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 year 2023.
“Hence, the introduction of the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (LAP) under the Agriculture-based Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric-Yes),” Lawal said.
The expected impacts of the training include the creation of 2000 Agro-Entrepreneurs, who would in turn become job creators; promotion of food security; improved nutrition; and general well-being of Lagosians.
The 2,000 Agro-Entrepreneurs would in turn create at least 4,000 indirect jobs per year through the engagement of support staff such as attendants and artisans, among others.
His words: “The training will enhance the economic activities of the surrounding communities; reduce the overall rate of unemployment; reduce crime rate within the state and promote the state’s target of producing at least 25 percent of the food consumed by residents before the end of year 2025.”
Speaking on the implementation strategy, Lawal said the programme would be done in two stages; training session in various agricultural value chains to attain a more efficient training of a large number of women and youths in a short time.
He said fewer resources which would be enterprise-specific would be required, thereby encouraging the adoption of forward and backward integration of businesses by participants in their subsequent agribusinesses.
“The stage two of the training will entail participants being encouraged to form Cooperative Agricultural Multipurpose Societies (CAMS) according to their enterprises, in order to better position them to attract funding.
“On the part of the government, the Ministry of Agriculture will partner with existing farms and agribusinesses with a view to attaching beneficiaries to agribusinesses closest to their location of residence for internship pending linkage to sources of finance.
“Government will also facilitate access to financing through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), CBN Intervention programmes such as Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) and Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).
“Access to financing will also be facilitated through the Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS), World Bank Assisted Projects such as the Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Programme among others,” Lawal said.
Through the empowerment, the establishment of additional enterprise-specific farm estates across the state would be promoted, as participants would be allocated land space according to the enterprise of interest and location of residence.