Lagos Agric Commissioner Charges Students To Develop Interest In Agriculture

Kunle Adelabu

-Obele Community School emerges 2023 World Food Day Quiz champion

Ms. Abisola Olusanya, the Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture, Lagos State (standing) addressing the students at the quiz competition in commemoration of the 2023 World Food Day held at the Adeyemi Bero hall, Alausa secretariat, Ikeja on Thursday. Mr Fashola, Special Adviser on Agriculture (sitting 2nd right), Mrs Tokunbo Emokpae, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture (sitting middie), Mr Rilwan Yusuf, representative of Dangote (sitting 3rd left) and other officials.

The Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture, Lagos State, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, has charged students in secondary schools, on the need to develop interest in agriculture, a sector that she described as a goldmine.

Olusanya stated that the government in the state is doing everything to encourage youths to take to agriculture by providing enabling environment.

The Commissioner gave the charge at the Quiz Competition organized by the Ministry in commemoration of 2023 World Food Day which the Ministry kicked off on Tuesday.

Commissioner Olusanya and other officials with some of the students

Commissioner Olusanya led Mr Rotimi Fashola, Special Adviser on Agriculture and Mrs. Olatokunbo Emokpae, Permanent Secretary of Agriculture of the Ministry among top government officials, partners and other participants, on a road walk in commemoration of the event.

In the quiz competition that took place at the Adeyemi Bero Hall, Alausa Secretariat, on Thursday, Obele Community Senior High School, Surulere, emerged the champion of the 2023 Ministry of Agriculture Quiz Competition.

Agindingbin Senior Community Secondary School, Ikeka and Alaro Senior High School, Epe came second and third, respectively.

Speaking at the Adeyemi Bero Hall venue of the Quiz Competition among Public Schools in Lagos State, Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Olusanya, said that the Ministry has initiated several programmes to engage the youths and make them develop interest in agriculture.

“At the Ministry, we run several programmes in trying to bring to your (students) knowledge the benefit of studying agriculture. We run a summer school programme every year which is usually in the month of August. We also have the Lagos Agric Scholars Programme, where we setup a smart system of poultry, aquaculture and horticulture in schools”, she said.

“We also run several other initiatives with different multilateral and bilateral agencies in trying to push the narrative that agriculture is not a backward sector.

Presentation of trophy to the Obele Community Senior High School, Surulere, winner of the quiz competition

“The truth of the matter is that some of the things that you have on you like uniform are made of cottons which is an agricultural crop. It, therefore, means that agriculture is embedded in your everyday lives. The hair cream that you usually apply on your hair, be it coconut oil or any other type, it is from agriculture.

“If it is the rubber of the vehicle that brought you here, that tyre is made of rubber which is an agricultural product. If it is the Milo that you drank this morning before going to school, that Milo is also made from a type of bean. If it is coffee, is it is from the cocoa bean.

“If it is jolof rice that you love so much, rice, tomato, maggi, they are all from agriculture.

“Agriculture is much more than just going to the farm, getting cutlass and digging the ground. It cuts across several value chains and different sectors.

“We have those in the logistics also doing agriculture. We have the marketers who are into agriculture. There are people supplying equipment that are also in agriculture. It is an entire chain. The idea is to expose you to the fact that agriculture is much more than what you think it is and there is room for everybody to play”, she said.

Mr Adegboye Adebisi, Deputy Director, Ministry of Agriculture (4th right), Mr Rilwan Yusuf, Dangote Rep (Right) and another official in group photograph with the quiz champion, first and second runner ups

While stating that agriculture is a global brand and a multimillion dollars’ sector, Ms. Olusanya also added that the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo – Olu, is determined to provide enabling environment and encourage the participation of youths in agriculture.

“Some of the biggest companies in the world today: Nestle, even Guinness that produces alcohol, are agro based companies, because they use wheat and other products which are from agriculture”, she said.

“Some of the biggest companies in the world are actually agro companies. Just have your minds expose to the fact that there is a lot that can be gain in this sector, and we need young minds to get interested in it.

“Our job, as a government, is to provide the right system and to also showcase agriculture in the best light, such that it would be of interest to you and we pray to the Almighty that we would do a good job to be able to showcase that to you.

“Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo – Olu, the Governor of Lagos State, is doing all that it would take to ensure that we get young minds into the sector, and I believe that by 2027, we should have hundreds of thousands of you wanting to take up agriculture as a way of life”, Ms. Olusanya said.

Olusanya, speaking on the theme for this year’s World Food Day, advocated for effective and judicious use of water which she said is becoming a scarce resource.

Presentation of gift items to the winner of the quiz competition, Master Chibuike Nmesoma of the Obele Community Senior High School Surulere

She, again, charged the students in the hall to take up the challenge of educating their families and others on the need not to be wasteful with the commodity.

“Today’s event – the school quiz competition, is on the world food day theme, tagged “Water Is Life, Water Is Food, Leave No One Behind”, she said.

“It is a very apt theme considering the fact that water is becoming a scarce resource, and you might ask yourself, how, considering that you see flood and rain?

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“The truth of the matter is that the requirement for water via the agricultural sector, is huge and I believe that the sector would utilize 40% of water available for its use.

“It, therefore necessitates that we find way of recycling the use of water; recirculate the use of water such that there will still be enough to use by households for cooking, cleaning and for any other things that might be required, particularly around human consumption.

“Without water, truly, there will be no life. I can’t imagine anyone here today that would not have a drink of water at least minimum once a day. They said that you can live without food for a long time, but you cannot live without water, without seeing the effects on you. That is the importance of water and which is why even as students, we must learn the effective use of water.

Commissioner Olusanya and others with the reigning Agric Ambassador

“The onus lies on you to teach your siblings and your parents how to conserve water”, she charged.

The representative of Dangote, the partnering company with the Ministry in organizing the ceremony, Mr Rilwan Yusuf, in his remark, emphasized the importance of agriculture to the nation building and development.

He enjoined students at the event to embrace agriculture.

The representative of Obele Community Senior High School, Surulere, Master Chibuike Nmesoma, expressed his happiness at winning the competition for his school.

“I’m very glad for the Lagos State Ministry for Agriculture’s School Quiz that we had today (Thursday). Our school came first and I was awarded with a lot of prizes for representing my school”, he said.

“I’m so glad to bring honour to my state, my school and to my people. I pray that God will continue to be glorified in Jesus name. Amen”, he added.

Mrs. Onadokun, Agricultural Teacher, Obele Community Senior High School, also speaking, described herself the happiest person for the feat achieved by her school.

Cross section of guests and students

“I am the happiest person this afternoon”, she said.

“I am so happy. In fact, I feel on top of the world today and I’m so grateful to the Lagos State Government and Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, also, to the Dangote company. God will continue to bless them and increase them on every side”, she said.

Grand finale of the celebration comes up at the Police College, Ikeja, on Monday, October 16, 2023, which is the actual day for the World Food Day celebration, with Governor Babajide Sanwo – Olu as the Special Guest of honour.

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