The Commissioner for Agriculture in Lagos State, Prince Gbolahan Lawal has expressed the readiness and determination of the State Government to complete all abandoned projects in the Agricultural sector particularly the Songhai Model of the Agricultural Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric Yes) located in Avia-Igborosun in the Badagry Local Government area of the State.
The Commissioner who disclosed this in Lagos over the weekend when he led a delegation of the State Government officials that included the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya to inspect the facility noted that the Songhai Model of the Youth Empowerment Scheme is one of the major empowerment programmes in the agricultural sector for youths being implemented by the State Government.
He noted upon assumption of office in July, he commissioned the development of a roadmap with the theme, A Sustainable Inclusive Growth Strategy with the Citizens at the Core, adding that one of the outcomes of that roadmap is the need to empower no fewer than 15,000 youths and women within the next four years in line with the roadmap.
He recalled that the Songhai model was a product of a collaboration between the State Government and the Songhai Regional Centre, Porto Novo, Benin Republic adding that the programme is geared towards encouraging organic farming and using simple biological methods to enhance production outputs.
“The model is based on new approaches and farming systems that rely heavily on the combined inputs from local experiences, indigenous technology, business communities and research institutions. The result is a robust, zero waste, integrated agro-allied model promoting rural growth through training, technology adaptation and strong business and commercialization strategy,” Lawal explained.
The Commissioner pointed out that objectives of the model include the need to train and create employment for youths therefore providing improved livelihood for the unemployed youths and reduce Rural-Urban migration of youths as well as to provide food in sufficient quantities to a population that is increasingly demanding in term of quality and diversity – Production that delivers sufficient quantities of safe whole-some food items that assist in disease prevention, healthy living and healthy aging.
“Some of the objectives of the model are to reduce dependency on other States to supply the food and fibre to be consumed by Lagosians; to complement the productivity of the ageing farmers which could not sustain or move the State to a comfortable level of self-sufficiency in food production and to provide competitive inputs/raw materials for the Agro-Industry,” Lawal averred.
He listed other objectives as providing feed stock for renewable energy supply as it would be designed to become an energy source instead of an energy sink and to provide new environmental products and services- carbon sequestration, Agro-Forestry, Biodiversity, native seeds and germ plasma, medical plants etc.
He added that the entrepreneurial thinking associated with the Songhai project will help farmers to explore many of the State‘s under-developed and under-sold agricultural sector products stressing that the Songhai project is in tandem with the THEMES developmental agenda of making Lagos a 21st century economy as it is about reducing bio waste and using renewable resources to generate power and using modern technologies to drive agricultural development and creating employment.
He said the Songha Model will promote a responsible farming system which supports the transfer of new technologies and access to markets just as it will also encourage farmers to become fully self-sufficient in energy by using sustainable resources.
The Songhai Project which commenced activities in 2012 with the signing of an MOU with the Songhai Regional Centre but has been abandoned within the last four years has such infrastructure such as Poultry Pens, Piggery Pens, Concrete Fish Ponds, Green House, Dormitories, Classrooms, Restaurants, Staff Residence and administration building as well as a Biogas Plant.
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