In recognition of youths contribution to society development, the Lagos State Government has reiterated commitment towards embarking on Agricultural and others programmes that would continuosly impact on the lives of younger generation across the state.
It added that stakeholders across the sectors would be partnered to ensure that the youths get required skills that could assist them become employable and enterprenuer in Lagos.
Pledging the administration’s commitment to developmental programmes for the youths, Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Olusegun Dawodu, said that the Sanwo-Olu led administration’s collaboration particularly in the Agriculture sector would be towards addressing and facilitating issues related to land accessibility and financial services.
Dawodu, at the International Youth Day Celebration yesterday in Ikeja, added that the collaboration would also include accessibility to green jobs and use of new technologies to develop knowledge, skills and talent of youth as well as to further ensure food security and nutrition, among others.
This, he said, became necessary following revelation by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Agriculture that the youth do not seem to find the Agric sector attractive now or even in the future.
He said: “The youth see the traditional mode 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”, the Commissioner disclosed that it was considered in commemorating this year’s International Youth Day, with the aim of addressing that the success of global effort will not be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people.
He, however, explained that the food system is the process and infrastructure involved in feeding a population such as growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transportation, marketing, consumption, distribution and disposal of food and food-related items.
Dawodu emphasized 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.
Earlier, 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.
He 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 youth as partners in our today’s global society.
Ayoola described the theme as very germane because as a developing nation, “we can hardly feed ourselves on our resources, hence the need for us to bring out ways we can sustain our food systems”, he disclosed.
This, he said, has been taken into consideration by the state government with great focus on how to achieve the sustainable development goals of poverty alleviation, social inclusion, diversity conversation and climate change, to mention but few.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, 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 has been stereotyped to be a dirty, non-lucrative and illiterate activity in this part of the world, forgetting that “You Must Eat”.
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 realize 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 disclosed that the Sanwo-Olu administration is youth and food centric, as seen in the execution of projects ranging from the recently empowered 3,000 youth and women in the Agric Value Chain Enterprise Activation Programme, Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (LAPS), Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Scheme (APPEALS), among others.
She implored the youth and other stakeholders to channel their energy and vibrancy towards agriculture, while assuring the commitment of the government to continue liaising with donor agencies in actualizing the dream of an Agricultural centered state.
In his remark, Chairman National Youth Council of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, Lekan Oba, appreciated the state government for ensuring that the youth constituency in the state is on a greater note, by always involving and empowering youth in their initiatives and projects.
He then advised the youth to tap into the opportunities that the government has made available in the agriculture sector and also venture on social media in getting opportunities for agricultural investments.