In a bid to encourage smart agriculture practices among secondary school students, the Lagos State government, through its Lagos Agric Scholar Programme (LASP), has provided aquaponics, aquaculture and poultry system (SAP-Sys) units with hardware components, to five secondary schools. LASP is a component of the Ministry’s Youth Empowerment Scheme designed to develop the interest of secondary school students in agriculture through exposure to modern agricultural skills while equipping them with sound practical knowledge of agriculture as a complement to the theoretical aspect taught in the classroom in the short-term, and enhancing food production, in the long run.
Beneficiary schools are the Lagos City Senior College, Sabo, Yaba; Igbobi College, Yaba; Omole Senior Grammar School, Omole Phase I, Ojodu; Lagos State Model Junior Secondary School, Meiran, Agege; Anthony Village Senior Grammar School, Anthony and Special Correctional Centre for Boys, Oregun. The SAP-Sys units, which are solar-powered modern, innovative integrated farm technologies for rearing aquaculture, hydroponics and poultry simultaneously, were installed in four public secondary schools, one private secondary school, and one correctional centre.
Handing over the smart farms to the school principals of the three senior secondary schools, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya said the smart farms was a motivation for the students in the state to embrace agriculture as a means of livelihood and for income generation. Olusanya said that the students should not look at agriculture as an “archaic profession”, but rather, as a means through which people are making huge income. Citing examples of countries such as Botswana, United States and China, which she claimed are rooted in agriculture, Olusanya harped that agriculture plays a vital role in the lives of humans because without food, they could not achieve their goals.
She further disclosed that the project was in collaboration with the ministry, Agrisiti and Corporate Farms, from the private sector. “The School Agricultural Project-Sys units are solar-powered modern, innovative integrated farm technologies for rearing aquaculture, hydroponics and poultry. She said, “We are here today to handover the facilities to the school administrators to train the students. The fingerlings, birds and everything that have been put in place here, let it flourish. My prayer is that this edifice will not die and when we come back later, it would have grown bigger”. Olusanya disclosed that the government would replicate the project in over 300 secondary and primary schools across the state and that, extension officers and their partners would visit the farms every month to demonstrate new technology to the students.
“This is not just a project that we just put edifice, provide inputs and we just walk away, it is a marriage between us, Agrisiti and the school where the facility is situated. So, we expect that the school would also take the responsibility to ensure that this is run sustainably. More importantly, this is more like a 360 degrees waste reticulation system. The aquaponics for instance – where the fish are being produced, the waste water should feed the hydroponics – the soilless vegetable farming, even the waste from the poultry should be used in form of fertiliser that can be reutilised within the premises of the school.
“We want it to be part of the curriculum that every month, our extension officers are here to showcase new methodologies they have also garnered from across the country and outside the country, and bring it to the notice of students and teachers”, Olusanya emphasised. Responding, one of them, who is the Principal, Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos State, Adedotun Akanbi, commended the state government for choosing the school as one of those to benefit from the laudable project. Akanbi added that the project was coming at a better time to train students’ practical agriculture and cultivate interest in agribusiness.