Posted by News Express | 3 April 2016 | 2,863 times
The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Toyin Suarau, on Saturday said that the state had acquired 2,134 hectares of land from neighbouring states to promote agriculture.
Saurau said this at an Agriculture Seminar organised by Buhari Youth Organisation (BYO) with theme: ‘Repositioning Agriculture for Youths Empowerment, Rural and Economic Development’ in Lagos.
The commissioner, who was represented by Mr Oladeji Alao, General Manager, Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA), said that the state government had invested much in agriculture to empower youths.
“Before 1960, Nigeria was an agrarian society, we are suffering because of our over reliance on oil. Many countries used the resources from agriculture to build structures.
“The average age of a Nigerian farmer today is about 55, which means youth have a role to play in agriculture to bring the nation back to the path of fortune.
“Lagos State has 84 hectares of land in Osogbo out of which 20 hectares is used for palm produce, while others are used for rice farm, cassava and mills.
“We have also acquired 1000 hectares of land in the same Osun, 500 hectares in Ogun and Oyo each and 50 hectares in Abuja to encourage farming.”
According to him, the state has developed estate farming and cluster farming because of the challenge of space in the state.
He said that the state had fishery estates, poultry estates Vegetable estates and Green House Technology to guard wastages.
“As part of the state government’s effort to attract youths into agriculture, we have agric youth empowerment scheme and provision for irrigation facility.
“Our loan for agric must be single digit if we want to make agric attractive to youths, the interest rate must not be high, hence it will not be profitable.”
The Guest Speaker, Mr Isaac Oluyi, while delivering a lecture entitled ‘Reclaiming the Lost Paradise through Agricultural Entrepreneurship,’ called for the use of technology in agriculture business.
“For agriculture to be attractive it must be driven by technology. We can make use of technology to change our fortune through agriculture.
“Agriculture has gone beyond hoes and cutlasses. Resourceful youths should understand that agric is a good business, and youth must have entrepreneurial mind set. We need people with creative minds.
“Agriculture is not about food production but about environment, innovation and technology, about collecting storage processing, packaging, marketing, financing, training, mentoring and many other things.
“Hunger is a problem that many youths can proffer solution to and make fortune.”
He urged youths to stop complaining rather engaged in crop cultivation, animal rearing, processing, distribution, marketing and many others.
In his words, Mr Khalil Aminu, the National President of BYO said that the organisation was aimed at initiating ideas and programmes in line with the ‘Change Agenda’ of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“No economic growth can be attained with underpowered youths, the Lagos BYO initiative has embarked on novel and timely venture which aligns with the policy trust of the Federal Government.”
The BYO boss, called on Nigerians to support the government’s policies, mandated other states to emulate the stride of Lagos chapter.
Mrs Lucy Ajayi, the National Vice President of the organisation said, countries were making big money from agriculture.
She said if only Nigeria could go into agriculture, the problem of unemployment would be a thing of the past.
“We can feed ourselves as a nation and export products if 100 million of us can go into agriculture.”
According to her, the organisation has acquired 100 hectares and 125 hectares of land in Lagos and Ogun respectively for BYO's Agricultural Cooperative Society Scheme.
Earlier, Prince Wale Oyekoya, Chairman, Agriculture, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry urged all states to take advantage of agriculture to improve on their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). (NAN)
•Photo shows Governor Ambode.
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