Gbolahan Lawal

Lagos State Government says it has introduced the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (L.A.P.) under its Agriculture-based Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric-Yes) in furtherance of the State Government’s objective of training 15,000 youths and women in the various agricultural value chains by year 2023.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal noted that the programme which is starting with the one-month training of no fewer than 200 participants is aimed at improving capacity, creating wealth and employment in the agricultural value chains such as poultry, piggery, aquaculture and vegetables.

“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 youth 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 (L. A.P) under the Agriculture-based Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric-Yes) which aims to train 15,000 women and youths at the training facilities across the State by the year 2023,” Lawal said.

According to him, the training will take place at the Agricultural Training Institute, Araga, Epe, adding that the introduction of L. A. P would efficiently reduce unemployment, create jobs and alleviate poverty in the State; attract and pay more attention to the creation of jobs for women in agribusiness.

He noted that other objectives of the L.A.P are the fact that it would enhance skill acquisition and improve productivity; produce versatile agripreneurs; increase food production substantially to local food demand within the State; facilitate the attainment of food security; and improve the well being of citizens of Lagos State.

Lawal reiterated the significance of the training, stressing that expected impacts of the training includes 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; and the creation of at least 4000 indirect jobs by every 2000 beneficiaries per year through the engagement of support staff such as attendants and artisans, among others.

Others expected impact, according to him, are the enhancement of the economic activities of the surrounding communities; reduction in the overall rate of unemployment; reduction in crime rate within the State; and promotion of the State’s target of producing at least 25% of the food consumed by residents the State before the end of year 2025.

Speaking on the implementation strategy, Lawal explained that the training and empowerment programme would be done in two stages the first being the 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, using fewer resources which will be enterprise-specific thereby encouraging the adoption of forward and backward integration of businesses by participants in their subsequent agribusinesses.

“The stage two of the training would entail participants being encouraged to form Cooperative Agricultural Multipurpose Societies (C.A.M.S.) 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 would also facilitate access to financing through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), CBN Intervention programmes such as Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS), Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS), and the World Bank Assisted Projects such as the Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Programme among others,” the Commissioner said.

Lawal hoped that 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.

He, therefore, urged interested participants with passion for agriculture, minimum of senior secondary school certificate, satisfactorily physical and health condition to collect the application forms free of charge at Room 9 at the Ministry in Alausa or at any of the State Agricultural Inputs Supply Authority Offices at Ojo or Odogunyan in Ikorodu or the Coconut House in Mowo, Badagry.