The Lagos State Government will continue to come up with programmes that benefit youths in the Agric and other relevant sectors.
This pledge was made on Thursday, by the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Olusegun Dawodu, at the International Youth Day Celebration in Ikeja.
Dawodu said that the Sanwo-Olu led administration is committed to empowering youths by collaborating with stakeholders in the Agric sector to facilitate access to land, financial services, green jobs and the use of new technology to develop knowledge, skills and talent of youths to enhance food security and nutrition, among others.
Revealing the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) position that youths do not seem to find the Agric sector attractive now or even in the future, the Commissioner said, “The youths see the traditional model of farming as crude, unprofitable and archaic. Rural areas lack the facilities that are offered in the urban areas and young people prefer white-collar jobs”.
“An Agric sector that is transformed in a more stimulating environment with modern equipment, methods and reasonable returns would be more attractive to the youth”, he added.
Speaking on the theme of the event, “Transforming Foods Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”, Dawodu disclosed that the topic was chosen to commemorate this year’s International Youth Day, to draw the attention of youths to participate in the global efforts to transform the agricultural sector.
He also explained that the food system is the process and infrastructure involved in feeding a population by growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consuming, distributing and disposing of food and food-related items.
Dawodu emphasised that the global food system is facing a number of challenges created by climatic and non-climatic changes and these global changes can only be addressed by transitioning to sustainable food systems.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Dr. Aina Ayoola, described the celebration of the International Youth Day as a clarion call to the society, especially the youth, to contribute their quota in creating and sustaining an enabling economic and social environment in the State and the country in general.
Dr. Ayoola also revealed that the celebration serves as an avenue to bring the issues faced by the youth to the attention of the International communities and also celebrate the potential of youths as partners in today’s global society.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya while delivering a lecture on “The Lagos State Smart City Dream: The Role of the Youth in Redefining Agriculture and Food System”, said that agricultural activities have been stereotyped as dirty, non-lucrative and illiterate activity in this part of the world.
She said; “Somebody must produce that food that will sustain you for the next 24hours. If you fail to get involved today, then you leave your future and the future of the generations after you in hunger. We must realise the need to begin to take action as quickly as possible”.
“With Agriculture, you control the economy, leadership, people, and relationships with other countries. When you have what other people demand, you begin to have a say. So long that we are import-dependent, then we don’t have a say. Therefore, the future of this country is in our hands”, she added.
Olusanya restated that the Sanwo-Olu administration is youth and food-centric, as seen in projects executed ranging from the recently empowered 3,000 youths and women in the Agric Value Chain Enterprise Activation Programme, Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (LAPS), Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Scheme (APPEALS), among others.
Responding, Chairman National Youth Council of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, Lekan Bilamin Oba appreciated the State government for ensuring that the youth constituency is always involved and empowered during government initiatives and projects.
He, therefore, advised the youth to tap into the opportunities that the government has made available in the agriculture sector and also explore social media in getting opportunities for agricultural investments.