Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal and other stakeholders at the event.

The Lagos State Government has graduated the first batch of the 200 women and youth who embarked on its Agriprenuership Training Programme.

The government said it is strongly committed to the implementation of the second phase of the Programme.

State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, who disclosed this at the Agricultural Training Institute, Araga Epe on Sunday at the closing/graduation ceremony of the first batch of the participants of the Lagos Agriprenuership Programme noted that the second phase of the programme involved the partnership with existing farms/agribusinesses with a view to attaching beneficiaries to agribusinesses closest to their location of residence for internship pending linkage to sources of finance.

He added that government would also facilitate access to financing for the 200 graduands as well as establish additional enterprise-specific Farm Estates across the State where participants could be allocated land space according to the enterprise of interest and location/address of residence.

“Today, as we gather to witness the graduation ceremony of the first batch of 200 women and youth beneficiaries of the training programme as well as the end of the first phase of the L.A.P, let me emphasize that the State Government is strongly committed to the implementation of the second phase of the Programme which includes among other benefits the partnership with existing farms/agribusinesses with a view to attaching beneficiaries to agribusinesses closest to their location of residence for internship pending linkage to sources of finance; facilitation of access to financing; and the establishment of additional enterprise-specific Farm Estates across the State where participants could be allocated land space according to the enterprise of interest and location/address of residence,” the Commissioner said.

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Lawal pointed out that participants had been thoroughly exposed to world class threshold and practical training in poultry, aquaculture, piggery and vegetable production as well as business management, entrepreneurship and e-Agriculture by the team of notable experts in the field of agriculture and business management that were invited during the one-month training programme to train, inspire and motivate the participants.

He added that the Programme had been able to achieve its objective of engaging, equipping and empowering women and youths to become world class Agripreneurs.

“I am delighted to report that the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme which was flagged off on the 10th of February 2020 has trained 200 participants made up of 100 males and 100 females in an intensive Agriculture Programme. Out of this number, 135 were trained in the poultry/piggery value chains and 65 in aquaculture value chain.

“Let me therefore congratulate all the graduands for being part of the army of job creators and food producers that we desire to build. It is my belief that this is the beginning of your greatness and I sincerely urge you to manage and utilize the knowledge and skills that you have acquired during the course of this training to your maximum advantage,” Lawal said.

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According to him, the programme was conceptualized by the State Government in order to solve the hydra-headed problem of women and youth unemployment in the State especially as young school leavers and women daily migrate to Lagos in search of jobs that had, over the years, continued to be elusive.

He explained that previous administrations in the State has embarked on a journey to creating jobs, alleviating poverty and ensuring food security in the State through the establishment of agriculture-based Youth Empowerment Scheme popularly known as Agric-Yes which resulted in the training of 600 youths in the various Agricultural value chains over the years.

“In view of the increasing rate of unemployment among youth and women, this is like a drop in the ocean. As a result, the administration of Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu evolved a new approach i.e. the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (L.A.P) that is capable of training and empowering a much larger number of women and youth in the Agricultural value chains such as Aquaculture, Poultry, Piggery and Vegetable as well as equipping them with entrepreneurship skills and e-Agric among others,” the Commissioner averred.

Lawal explained that a committee would be set up to look into their business plans with a view to placing them in the value chain that they are best suited for just as he commended staff of his Ministry for their commitment to efficient service delivery that had made the programme a huge success.

Earlier, the Special Adviser on Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya urged the participants to fill in the gaps in the agricultural value chain by adding value to the system just as she advised them to be accountable to what they have learnt and the society.

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One of the graduating students, Alabi Olayinka Rotimi appreciated the State Government for coming up with such an initiative as the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme stressing that the Programme had exposed them to the wide array of opportunities that exist in the Agricultural sector and promised that they would tap into the opportunities.

Another participant, Bolaji Ashogbon promised to put the training they had received in the last one month into practice in their various value chains adding that by so doing, food would be provided for their immediate communities, jobs would be created and the goal of the State to improve food security would be achieved.

Olajumoke Titlayo Olarinde emerged the best overall student at the training while Olusegun Daniel Oyewole was the best in the Poultry value chain; Zanaib Abeke Hameed was the best in Aquaculture; Olayinka Atere emerged the best in the Vegetable value chain; Ibrahim Owolabi Adele was the best the Entrepreneurship; and Adeola Diyaolu was the best in e-agriculture.