Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Olajide Basorun has stated that about 360 students across the six educational districts have benefited from the Lagos state government Agricultural-Yes Summer School Program for the secondary school students.
Dr Basorun, who stated this at the closing ceremony of 2015 program, explained that today’s agricultural students were theoretically versed, but still needed practical skills and knowledge on agriculture especially on cohesive thought and critical problem solving.
“This is why the state government through the Ministry of Agriculture, initiated the programme to provide secondary school students with the technical skill that will be administered through on-farm practical teaching and field demonstrations,”he said.
Basorun said that the just concluded 14 days intensive training at the Agric Training Institute, Araga, Epe was the sixth in the series and over 360 participants had been trained so far, adding that the program was a follow up to the school agricultural program.
“As matter of deliberate policy, the state government introduced the school agricultural program over 20 years ago whereby we go to public schools in Lagos State and look at their potential for agriculture and try to encourage those potential by supporting those schools, every year we have different programs involving all the enterprise,” he said.
He said in various schools over the years, the ministry had introduced agricultural programs such as aquaculture, vegetable farming using greenhouse technology, poultry, cassava farming and some form of agro-processing.
Speaking further, Bashorun explained that the program was a deliberate move to make the students develop interest in agriculture as business and not as subsistence as wrongly perceived.
Giving rationale for the establishment of the Young Farmers Club in some public schools, he stated that this would enable youths in the country to be part of the growing interest in agriculture as business in the forefront of economic development.
“This is to make young farmer come together willingly to discourse about agriculture with facilitators from the ministry of agriculture to visit the schools and attend their meetings and proffer solutions to some of the problems that they might have in the various enterprises.”
“The government of Akinwunmi Ambode would continue to give attention to agriculture in schools under the Schools Agricultural Program so as to increase the yield of farm produce in the state,” he added.
He congratulated the 60 students from 18 secondary schools that participated in the two weeks program, adding that they were selected from the six educational districts with ten participants from each district.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs. Olabisi Ariyo implored the students to embrace agriculture as a laudable profession early in life.
She emphasised that the program was designed to develop teachers’ technical skills through practical agricultural awareness and orientation that is indeed needed in the education for a turn around.
Ariyo who was represented by the Director of Science and Technology, Mr. Adebayo Ibitoye charged the students to put into practice the experience they have gathered from the program and also disseminate it to other students and teachers in their various schools.
Meanwhile, the state government has trained 682 executive farmers though it’s “Annual Executive Weekend Training on Investment Opportunities in Fish Farming”.
Basorun explained that the programme was designed to expose participants to new investment opportunities in the fisheries value chain.
He said the state government identified aquaculture as a veritable tool for accelerated and sustainable fish production, adding that fish farming was an environmentally friendly way of producing fish with a remarkable means of positioning the state as a net exporter of fish to other states.
The permanent secretary said the state was implementing programs to develop the sub-sector, and listed the programs to include ‘the fish farm estate,’ ‘fish market development,’ ‘Lagos marine agriculture development program,’ ‘capacity development and extension services.’
According to Basorun, aquaculture contributed 26 per cent to fish production in the state, adding that it was the most cost effective and renewable means of fish production in the state.
He said they started the weekend training program to allow busy executives participate in it.
Also speaking at the event, a former permanent secretary in the state Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Adedoyin Olusoga said the residents of the state required 330,000 metric tonnes of fish to meet their annual dietary needs, adding that the aggregate fish supply from all sources was about 176,850 metric tonnes per annum. This, she said, had led to a massive importation of fish which, according to her, was a big drain on the scarce foreign exchange of the country.
Adedoyin said it was the realisation of the potential of sub-sector that the state government initiated developmental projects that would make aquaculture a tool for sustainable fish production and a means to create employment in the state.
She, however, said that the state government would create an enabling environment for the private sector to invest fish feed production, saying this would lower the cost of fish production, as fish constituted 70 per cent of recurrent cost of fish production.


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