Lagos State Government has expressed its readiness and determination 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 Badagry.
The state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Gbolahan Lawal, who disclosed this in Lagos at the weekend when he led a delegation of the state government officials that included the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, to inspect the facility, said that the Songhai Model of the Youth Empowerment Scheme was one of the major empowerment programmes in the agricultural sector for youths being implemented by the state government.
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 was 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 commercialisation strategy,” the commissioner stated.
Lawal pointed out that objectives of the model include the need to train and create employment for youths, thereby 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 wholesome 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 aging 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 said.
He listed other objectives as providing feedstock 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, agroforestry, biodiversity, native seeds, and germ plasma, medical plants and so on.
He added that the entrepreneurial thinking associated with the Songhai project would help farmers to explore many of the state’s under-developed and under-sold agricultural sector products.
He said the Songha model would also promote a responsible farming system, which supports the transfer of new technologies and access to markets just as it would also encourage farmers to become fully self-sufficient in energy by using sustainable resources.