Lagos govt establishes 158 agric projects in 150 schools, correctional centres

WorldStage Newsonline– The Lagos State Government has established 158 agricultural projects in 150 public Secondary Schools and Correctional Centres under its School Agricultural Programme (SAP).

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, said this at the sensitisation meeting on rebranded SAP, now Lagos Agricultural Scholars’ Programme (LASP) on Thursday in Lagos.

Olusanya, represented by Mr Hakeem Adeniji, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said that the projects comprised of poultry, piggery, aquaculture and vegetable production value chain.

According to her, additional 32 projects will be established in the phase I in 2022 in more correctional centres in Lagos State and selected schools within Education Districts I, Il and VI.

She listed the new projects to include 12 snailery, four rabbitry, two grass cutter and four goat-rearing enterprise as well as 10 vegetable production (modified).

“These projects shall be implemented as phase I for the early part of 2022 being a carry-over from 2021.

“LASP, which serves as a ‘taster’ programme and a refresher course is beneficial to both agricultural science students and teachers in public state’s educational sector.

 “The programme will assist the students to make up their minds by picking up a career in the agricultural value chain in the future which will eventually fill the vacuum being created by the ageing farmers.

“This will by extension, solve the problem of unemployment and help them become employers of labour in future,” Olusanya said.

The commissioner said that LASP was also expected to assist schools to generate income, ensure food security and mitigate possible effects of global food crisis.

 “Under SAP, 158 agricultural projects comprising poultry, piggery, aquaculture and vegetable production are established in 150 Public Secondary Schools.

“The projects are also located in Michael Otedola College of Primary Education, Noforija, Epe and within the Girls’ Correctional Centre, Idi Araba, Surulere,” she said.

Olusanya said that under the new LASP, no fewer than 63 officials, comprising 30 principals, 30 agricultural science teachers and three desk officers from three education districts were being trained.

She said that the programme was part of the ministry’s Youth Empowerment Scheme designed to expose students to modern agricultural skills and farming methods.

The commissioner noted that the aim of the scheme was to empower students with sound practical knowledge of agriculture to complement theoretical aspect being taught in the classroom.

She said that the programme was rebranded due to the skyrocketing cost of agricultural inputs for poultry, piggery and aquaculture by approximately 170 per cent.

She noted that in 2021, the ministry had obtained the approval of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to embark on new projects such as snail, rabbit, grasscutter farming and goat-rearing enterprise for sustainability under a new nomenclature of LASP.

“It is worth mentioning that public senior secondary schools and centres involved in the programme are expected to have the following criteria in place.

“Accessibility and adequate space for establishment of the project; functional boreholes with suitable water quality and adequate security.

“Consequently, we shall be establishing 32 projects namely, 12 snailery, four rabbitry, two grasscutter and four goat-rearing as well as 10 vegetable production (modified) in more correctional centres and selected schools within education Districts I, Il and VI.

 “These projects shall be implemented as phase I for the early part of 2022 being a carry-over from 2021.

“It is also being proposed for the latter part of the year that Phase II shall involve the establishment of projects in the remaining three education districts, Ill, IV and V, respectively,” Olusanya said.

The commissioner also said that all projects when established would be completely handed over to the said schools and centres.

She said that the Ministries of Agriculture and Education would work together to carry out regular monthly monitoring visits to the pre-existing and new project sites to ensure their sustainability.

 “I, therefore, want to use this opportunity to advise all principals to head the LASP committees in their respective schools which should include agricultural science students, teachers and other interested teachers.

“Other non-teaching staff such as gatemen, who will be available to carry out agricultural management practices after school hours, during public holidays and when schools are on vacation.

“The Eko Schools’ Agricultural Comic which is produced in collaboration with Corporate Farmers International (CFI) Limited.

“It shall be a way of simultaneously entertaining and teaching our pupils and students in the state’s public primary and secondary schools about the happenings within the various agricultural value chains,” she said.

A Participant, Mrs Racheal Adesola, Principal, Ojodu Junior Grammar School, Lagos, commended the state government for initiating the laudable project to stimulate students’ interest in agriculture.

Adesola said that her school was nominated for the snail farming under the LASP programme for 2022.

“In my school, we have been running poultry farm privately before now and I have seen the keen interest the students have displayed whenever they are assigned to work there

“The students have always shown interest and excited in agriculture and I believe this programme will work.

“We have been thinking of setting up a snail farm but God just gave us this opportunity and we are selected by the ministry to be part of the LASP project.

“We are very happy, all the students are happy and I know they will be excited to learn how to rear snails in the school,” she said.

The project was in collaboration with the Ministries of Agriculture, Education and Youth and Social Development.

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