Lagos State Government reiterated its commitment to the promotion of a Youth Empowerment Scheme that would expose youths and students to modern agricultural, value chain skills and methods in the post-COVID-19 era.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya made this known at the opening ceremony of a five-day training in the coconut value chain for student nurses in the State at the Farm Service Centre, Oko-Oba, Agege.
The Training, titled “Integrating Coconut Value Chain into the Entrepreneurship Course for Student Nurses in Lagos State”, was a collaborative initiative of Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA) and Lagos State College of Nursing (LASCON).
Olusanya, represented by the Director, Administration and Human Resource, Mrs. Yemisi Rosiji, said that the training was a sub-set of the Schools’ Agricultural Programme (SAP), which was conceived in 1989 in order to support the educational sector in the areas of capacity building and direct intervention.
“The initiative is basically a sub-set of the Schools’ Agricultural Programme (SAP) of the Ministry of Agriculture which was conceived in 1989, in order to support the educational sector in the areas of capacity building and direct intervention. The aim is to empower them with sound practical knowledge if they choose agriculture as a profession or as a source of additional income to whatever choice of career they may pick later in life”, the Commissioner asserted.
Olusanya stated that participants would be trained on modern techniques for coconut oil processing (hot and cold-pressed), techniques for coconut flour production, production of coconut snacks such as coconut flakes, chuk-chuk, gurudi, as well as agro-business development skills with the use of the Nigerian Agricultural Enterprise Curriculum kit.
She noted that the training would awaken the subconscious of student nurses for self-employment, equip them with the skills needed and expose them to the hidden treasures of the economic and health values of coconut.
According to her, the training has been specially designed in a way that the theoretical contents and modules emphasise developing an entrepreneurship mindset, as well as espouse the health benefits of coconut.
The Commissioner said that the training would be 70% practical, which includes hands-on demonstrations and group discussions, with the aim of building the capacity of the participants to produce some edible coconut products independently.
Her words: “I consider it necessary to re-affirm that the State is blessed with abundant coconut resources which informed the establishment of LASCODA, the Agency that is responsible for upholding the State’s comparative advantage of this wonderful crop in the areas of production, utilisation and commercialisation within the downstream and the upstream facets”.
“This training, which will be a yearly activity henceforth, will be focusing on the processing and utilisation of the coconut value chain. I have also been reliably informed that LASCON has gotten necessary accreditation for integrating this training into the Entrepreneurship Course of Nurses. The implication of this is that all nurses to be trained in Lagos need to have the skill and knowledge of the processing of edible by-products of Coconut”, Olusanya averred.
The Commissioner emphasised the uniqueness of the nursing profession in the health sector, being the closest to the patients, therefore, making it imperative for them to be well-grounded in agricultural value chains that are of great dietary importance.
Earlier, the Provost, Lagos State College of Nursing, Igando, Mrs. Olufunsho Orenuga commended the State Government for creating a platform to train students in the coconut value chain to have an extra source of income.
According to her, the concept of entrepreneurship is a ‘new normal’ in the educational sector, adding that it had always been a part of the educational curriculum but only trivialised.
Orenuga said that the process of revamping the core curriculum which was designed to address societal needs were what gave voice to the need for entrepreneurship.
On his part, the General Manager, LASCODA, Mr. Dapo Olakulehin expressed appreciation to the State Government and other stakeholders for making the training a reality, while urging the students to take advantage of the initiative and acquire necessary knowledge needed to thrive in the practical oriented training on Integrating Coconut Value Chain.
He stated that some of the things that would be taught at the workshop include Coconut Oil Processing (Hot and Cold Press), Techniques for Coconut Flour Production, Production of Coconut Snacks (Coconut Flakes, Chuk-Chuk, Gurudi etc) and Agro-business Development Skills (with emphasis on agro-processing) with the use of Nigerian Agricultural Enterprise Curriculum kit, among others.