The Lagos State government has finalised plans to create one million youth farmers in the agricultural sector by 2023.
The project is to make a five-year agricultural master plan for Lagos, a youth inclusive programme.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, said “hopefully, between 2022 and 2023, the state should be having well over a million youth farmers in the agriculture space,’’
While highlighting details of the youth agriculture programme, Olusanya said that the Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration is forward-looking on youths’ engagements.
She said “it’s not necessarily about those who will be going to the farm to kick up using mechanised tools or implement. It’s also about those who will be in the digital space in agriculture; those who will be in the crowdfunding space; those who will be in the data integration; data collection phases and also be in packaging, processing and others in the Agriculture space’’.
The commissioner further said that the Imota rice mill projects will kick off in 2021 as the construction of the mill was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, that the 32 metric tonnes per hour rice mill is also aimed at further enhancing employment generation in the state.
Olusanya said that the state government had trained about 800 rice farmers drawn from Badagry, Itokin, Ikorodu, Epe, Gboyinbo, Idena, Obada, Ito Ikin and Ise on rice production with global best practice.
“If the new techniques, to which the rice farmers have been exposed, are adopted in the next planting season, it will result in increased paddy production in the state.
She added that the training would also expose the farmers to efficient harvesting methods by using up-to-date agricultural practices to ensure maximum output, improved yield, as well as the highest return on investment.
It is, therefore, envisaged that the mill will have enough paddy to ensure its smooth take-off.
“The mill has the capacity to produce 115,200 metric tonnes of milled rice, which will require about 280,000 metric tonnes of paddy per year,’’ Olusanya said.
The commissioner also reaffirmed the state government’s readiness to support any youth, who wants to come into the agriculture space.
She said that the ‘Lagos Aquaculture Centre for Excellence’ project would come on stream that all the projects are being executed in conjunction with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.
“One million jobs are even too small for us to create, we will hopefully create more and that is what Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu is looking forward to in showing the people of the state that it is not just agriculture, it is agribusiness,’’ Olusanya said.