Efforts to Stimulate Youths Interest in Agric Receives A Boost In Lagos

A fifteen year old SS 2 student of Gbagada Senior Grammar School, Lagos, Destiny Edoro has emerged the overall winner of the Start Them Early Programme, STEP, Schools Agri-Competition.

STEP is a component of the Innovative Youth in Agriculture, I-Youth, project, implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, in partnership with Mastercard Foundation Young Africa Works, aimed at extending agribusiness training to
secondary school students in Kano, Kaduna, and Lagos states.

David Joshua of Comprehensive Senior High School Alapere came second, while Asokere Misimau of Ajara Comprehensive Senior High School, Badagry was third.

In addition to winning technological devices, both winners and their schools will also get Agric enterprise share development.

In a message during the final stage of the competition held in Ikeja Lagos, the State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, who ewas represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Abolaji Abayomi, noted that the focus on the Youths is not misplaced as the State Government as well as other tiers of government had been making concerted efforts to re-focus on agriculture for sustainable development.

”We have always for years relied on petroleum and we have seen where that has taken us to.The government has realized that and so has over the years been calling for a visit to the past, not of regret, but of re-engineering, of recharging our course.So, the focus on the youth is not misplaced. It is the right step in the right direction, hence, the Ministry of Education is committed to using the instrument we have, and the instrument is of course, a large one, which is the youths,” the Commissioner said.

Similarly, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, whose message was delivered by the Director of Agric Services, Mrs Abiola Ayoade explained that about one hundred and ninety agric projects had been established in public secondary, correctional centres and tertiary institutions in the State to stimulate the interests of the youths in agriculture and agribusinesses.

The IITA’s I-Youth Executive Manager, Mrs Aline Mugisho said the competition is also serving as a reminder to the broader society that agriculture is also a viable subject just like mathematics, as well as a business and since research shows that the world is running out of food, the African Continent which is highly productive, must be positioned to take the lead in ensuring global food security.

“The world is running out of food and Africa is the only place where food cannot be short, we have good land, water and strong, young vibrant people who are going to work that land”

According to Mrs Aline Mugisho, the Start Them Young Agri competition is also taking place in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo, while plans are ongoing yo extend it to other parts of Africa.

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