The Lagos State Government has empowered at least 31,781 youth and women in fisheries, poultry, rice and horticulture value chains in the last two years.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, announced this at a news conference in Lagos on Thursday.
Olusanya, who said the conference was to commemorate the second anniversary of the Sanwo-Olu-led administration, noted that 12,574 youth and women have so far been trained, while 19,207 were empowered.
She explained that the training was informed by the need to encourage more youth and women to participate in agriculture in order to reduce unemployment.
According to her, if the state is to succeed in attaining food security and self-sufficiency by 2023, the need to train more youth cannot be overemphasised.
“The administration of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu is committed to growing the state’s agricultural sector and ensuring that it is less dependent on other states for the production of food.
“As a result of this, the state has continued with the empowerment, training and capacity development of the youth and women in selected key value-chains such as fisheries, poultry, rice and horticulture,’’ she said.
According to the commissioner, several initiatives have been implemented in areas where the state is considered to have some advantage.
“One of such initiatives is the introduction of the Eko Schools’ Agric Comic and Agric App.
“It is believed that this will stir up the interest of youths and teenagers in the agriculture sector.’’
Olusanya said that 19,207 youth and women were also empowered across all the agricultural value-chains with inputs and productive assets through the annual agricultural value chains programme.
She noted that additional 1,577 Lagosians also benefited indirectly from the empowerment programme.
The commissioner said the state also partnered with Mastercard and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to train additional 192 youth in various agricultural value-chains.
She said the partnership aimed at building skills and secure fulfilling work opportunities within the agriculture sector.
She stated that the collaboration was a strategic approach to agribusiness training to arouse the interest of youth in the agricultural space to enable them to make a decent living out of it.
The commissioner said 90 youth were trained and empowered in the cage fishing culture systems in Badagry.
The cage culture system of fish farming, she said, was one of the ways being championed by the state government to maximise the benefits of the abundant water resources which accounts for about 22 per cent of the state’s landmass.
Under the World-Bank-assisted Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project, the commissioner said 8,156 farmers and SMEs were identified, verified and given training in relevant areas of agribusiness.
“The APPEALS project is aimed at enhancing the productivity of small-scale farmers in the three identified value-chains of poultry, aquaculture and rice through capacity building, provision of infrastructure, and empowerment.
“Also, 462 beneficiaries under the Women and Youth Empowerment Programme (WYEP) are being trained in agribusiness management, soft skills among others, and have been empowered to start off production.
“Other beneficiaries will equally be supported before the end of the year,’’ the commissioner said.(NAN)