Nigerians youths have been advised to look at agriculture as business and not as subsistence as people perceive it. Permanent Secretary in the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Olajide Bashorun, gave the advice while speaking at the end of the two weeks intensive programme of 2015 Agric-Yes Summer School at the Agric Training Institute, Araga, Epe.
He said a good number of people all over the world are growing out of agriculture as business men and women and as entrepreneurs who are in the forefront of economic development.
He said government has also introduced the formation of Young Farmers Club in some of the public schools that the government has touched.
He said this is to give room for young farmers to 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.
He however said the Agric Summer School progrmme, came as a complementary to initiatives mentioned earlier. “we bring promising youth together and intensify training by exposing them to practical agriculture and have the opportunity of visiting successful farms and really see how agriculture is important and really turning into a business” he said.
He said today’s agricultural students are theoretically versed but less practically skilled and they lack the required knowledge for cohesive thought and critical problem solving.
He added that this is why government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives initiated the Agric-Yes Summer School to provide secondary school students with the technical skill that will be administered through on-farm practical teaching and field demonstrations.
According to him, 60 students who participated in the two week programmes this year were selected from the six education districts in the state.
He said the initiative is the sixth in the series and over 480 participants have been trained so far, adding that the programme is a follow up to the School Agricultural Programme.
“As a matter of deliberate policy the state government introduce the School Agricultural programme over twenty 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 programmes involving all the enterprise,” he said.
Bashorun also said in various schools over the years, the Ministry has introduced agricultural programmes such as aquaculture, vegetable farming using greenhouse technology, poultry, cassava farming and some form of agro-processing, noting “that this is to add to what the Ministry of Education is doing to encourage their subjects of agriculture”.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs. Olabisi Ariyo, implored the students to embrace agriculture as a laudable profession right from their early stages in life.
She emphasised that the programme is also designed to develop teachers’ technical skills through practical agricultural awareness and orientation that is indeed needed in the education for a turn around.
“Government has continued to give attention to agriculture in schools under the Schools Agricultural Programme so as to increase the yield of farm produce in the state,” she said. Presently 18 secondary schools across the state have been provided with necessary facilities to produce agriculture proceeds for the community close to their respective schools.
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 programme and also disseminate it to other students and teachers in their various schools.