Birth Of A Proper Economy Rooted In Agric Has Taken Off In Lagos
…Says Fashola at First Graduation of AGRIC YES Trainees
Dec 18, 2010 - Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Saturday attended the first graduation ceremony of Course One of the Agriculture Based Youth Empowerment Scheme (AGRIC-YES) Trainees in Epe with an affirmation that the birth of a proper economy, rooted in Agriculture that supports industrialization has taken off in Lagos.
Governor Fashola who spoke at the Agricultural Training Institute(ATI) Araga Poka in Epe venue of the colourful, well attended ceremony said the new economy would lead to the development of service sector that completes the chain of a resilient economy.
He explained that the Agric Yes Scheme is one of the many practical solutions that Government is deploying in response to the growing reality of youth unemployment and challenges it poses in a rapidly changing economic climate.
Said he: "We gather to witness the graduation of the first 100 out of 1000 young men and women who are programmed to benefit from the Agric Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric Yes). We harvest the most critical resource, the fully trained, and highly skilled manpower that is the bedrock of our pursuit of food security in our State and country".
He added: "I am delighted that we have walked our talk again in the Agriculture sector of the Lagos economy. This has been possible because great men and women in the State public service and in the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives have found a new belief in themselves.
"When we started this journey some said we were too much in a hurry and that we will get tired, that we were running a marathon like a sprint and some even said we were all talk and no action but today even if you disbelieve what we say, you cannot disbelieve what we have done and you can see them".
"It pleases me that this is happening now because tomorrow (Sunday)this government would have spent 1300 days in office as part of the 1460 days of your mandate. It remains 160 days before we complete this term. We will keep walking and keep running in serving you", he explained.
Governor Fashola while congratulating the new graduands said he hopes they will take charge of the future that will ensure that Lagosians do not worry about what to eat, because if a country as small as Isreal can do it, Lagos too can double that feat.
He said in order to assist and support the take off of the programme, the State Government has approved micro-finance funding for their co-operatives which has been developed and is receiving support from the Ministry of Agriculture.
"The future certainly belongs to you all now, as you lead us into a new experience of high quality farming methods, packaging techniques, marketing and distribution network and strategies that will truly revolutionize the image and concept of Agriculture in our State and country."
"I see the birth of many other support industries such as canning and other value added services commencing not too long from now", the Governor said.
He urged them not to look behind but to continue to produce farm output because people will buy them , adding that he has already issued an Executive Order that the agric co-operatives of the public service where garri and potatoes are fried would be their ready market as they are ready to take the products.
Speaking earlier, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Projects who is also the Co-ordinator of the Programme, Mr Gbolahan Lawal said the Agric Yes programme was conceptualized as a form of social intervention response aimed at solving the twin problems of youth unemployment and food security.
He added that the scheme is a three phase intervention programme spanning a period of five years with a target of producing 1,000 laptop carrying elite farmers with phase one made up of a six month intensive training, phase two a six month internship stage where participants proceed to the commercial farm to learn best practices on running successful farms.
He explained that the third stage is the exit stage where successful trainees are permanently settled in farm estates (clusters) fashioned after the Isreali Kibutz/Mashev with empowerment in form of take off grants and linkage to the Lagos Micro Finance Institution (LASMI) for credit facilities and settlement.
Mr Gbolahan added that the three phases of training, internship and settlement is being handled in collaboration with Isreali and Nigerian consultants.
Certificates were presented to the 100 graduating students who were admitted as Agric Youth Empowerment Scheme trainees with Mr Obayomi Olabiyi Aderemi emerging as the best graduating student.
Governor Fashola also undertook an extensive inspection of the facilities at the training institute as well as the offices before the commencement of the ceremony.
Prominent among those who attended the ceremony were members of the State Executive Council, traditional rulers like the Alara of Ilara, Oba A.O Adesanya, Elegushi of Ikateland, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi Kusenla II, the Ojomu of Ajiranland, Oba Tijani Adetunji Akinloye and Oloja of Epe, Oba Kamorudeen Animashaun among many other traditional rulers and foreign nationals.