Lagos State Government has introduced the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (L.A.P.), under its Agriculture-based Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric-Yes), in furtherance of the vision of training 15,000 youths and women in the various agricultural value chains by the year 2023.
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 vegetable value chains.
“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 a 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 the 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 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 per cent of the food consumed by residents before the end of the 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.
While hoping that the empowerment will promote the establishment of additional enterprise-specific Farm Estates across the State, Lawal hinted that participants would be allocated land space, based on their enterprise of interest and place of residence.
He, therefore, urged interested participants with passion for agriculture, minimum of senior secondary school certificate and satisfactory physical and health conditions to collect the application forms free-of-charge at Room 9 at the Ministry in Alausa or any of the State Agricultural Inputs Supply Authority Offices at Ojo or Odogunyan in Ikorodu or the Coconut House in Mowo, Badagry.