By Olayinka Olawale
The Lagos State Government has urged secondary students in the state to embrace agriculture as a means of livelihood and for income generation.
Ms Abisola Olusanya, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, stated this during the handover of three smart farms to principals of three senior secondary schools on Friday in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the beneficiaries include Lagos City Senior College, Sabo, Yaba; Igbobi College, Yaba and Omole Senior Grammar School, Ikeja.
NAN reports that the farms are smart aquaponics, aquaculture and poultry system units with hardware components under the Lagos Agric Scholar Programme.
Olusanya said that the students should not look at agriculture as an archaic profession but means where people are making huge income.
She said that the students must eat irrespective of what they wished to become in future noting that agriculture plays a vital role because without food they could not achieve their goals.
According to her, countries such as Botswana, U.S. and China are rooted in agriculture.
“As an engineer, a doctor, aeronautic engineer or neurosurgeon, whatever it is you want to become, you must eat.
“Even if you say you want to go on 30 days fast, no food, no water, you must break the fast with food.
“So, who is going to produce food if none of you is interested in agriculture, Where do you think your food will come from,” she asked.
The commissioner said that people should be involved in agriculture because of its importance.
“If you do your research today, the largest land holder in the U.S. is Bill Gate. He is buying off most of the farmlands and it is for a reason.
“The person that controls the food resort of the world will control the world.
“With Ukraine and Russia war, we know the effect on prices of bread in the market, because the wheat used in making bread comes from the eastern Europe,” she said.
Olusanya stressed that agriculture was indeed a profession where people are making huge money and urged the students to embrace it.
“If food sector is negatively impacted, it will return to haunt the doctor, aeronautic engineer, chief executive officer, surgeon and multi billion dollars investment,” she said.
The commissioner said that if there was food scarcity, many people would spend fortune to get it, and only those in the food space would have control of things
“So, we want you to be interested; don’t look at agriculture as a profession for illiterates, or for people that are old or jobless people.
“Some of the biggest businesses in the world are into agriculture,” she said.
Olusanya, however, said that the project was initiated to encourage students to develop interest in agriculture as a venture and not only as a subject.
She said that the farms were setup so that the students could see agriculture as a viable business.
She noted that the project was in collaboration with the ministry, Agrisiti and Corporate Farms, from the private sector.
“The School Agricultural Project-Sys units are solar-powered modern, innovative integrated farm technologies for rearing aquaculture, hydroponics and poultry.
“We are here today to handover the facilities to the school administrators to train the students.
“The fingerlings, birds and everything that have been put in place here, let it flourish.
“My prayer is that this edifice will not die and when we come back later, it would have grown bigger,” she said.
Olusanya disclosed that the government would replicate the project in over 300 secondary schools and primary schools in the state.
She said that extension officers and their partners would visit the farms every month to demonstrate new technology to the students.
She, however, commended the team at the ministry for their contribution to the success of the project.
“Agrisiti and Corporate Farmers are a crop of young and vibrant farmers with the energy, zeal and passion to transform agriculture in Nigeria.
“We are happy and proud to work with these young people to transform agriculture in Lagos,” she said.
Mr Oyewole Akintohude, representative of Agrisiti, said that the aquaculture consist of two fish ponds with 400 fingerlings, while the poultry was stocked with 60 birds and hydropohics.
Akintohude said that the farms had solar system, borehole water and generating set to perform optimally.
Also, Mr Adedotun Akanbi, Principal, Igbobi College, Yaba, commended the state government for choosing the school as one of those to benefit from the laudable project.
Akanbi said that the project was coming at a better time to train the students practical agriculture.
The Founder, Corporate Farmer, Mr Akin Alabi, said a comic book was created for students in 2020 on red meat value chain and rice, to educate them on the projects of the government and agric in general. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chinyere Bassey/Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma