(L-R) Director, Agricultural Training Institute, Mr. Yinka Omirin; the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Hakeem Adeniji at the Agricultural Training Institute, Araga Epe.

The Lagos State Government has said participants of its Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (LAP) would henceforth be exposed to a three-month internship with an existing farm or facility to enable them to get firsthand experience of the agricultural process.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya disclosed this today when she paid a courtesy call on the Batch IV of the Lagos Agripreneurship Training Programme at the Lagos Agricultural Training Institute, Araga, Epe.

Olusanya explained that the three-month internship would further help the budding agripreneurs to get a better grip of all they would have been taught during the one-month training at the Institute.

According to her, apart from the training experience at the Institute, especially for those who had no background in agriculture, the internship would help to widen their horizon about the agricultural space while they learn from the successes and mistakes of these companies.

“We know that there had been issues in the past when participants had complained that they come into the programme, they are trained and then they leave and nothing happens afterwards. We understand that there is always a dearth of resources. When I say dearth, I mean paucity of funds. What that means is we have private sector participants, who are doing big in the Agric space, who need people like you to come in and work with or partner with them. This is why we need to commence the internship structure”, Olusanya asserted.

The Commissioner charged the participants not to despise the power of networking and collaboration even amongst one another as trainees, stating that after the training programme, groups of two or three could be formed for partnership in order to start their own agriculture businesses.

Noting that economies of scale matters a lot in the agriculture sector for scope, size, survival and sustainability of the business, the Commissioner maintained that if participants can build partnerships and structures, it would be easier for the State Government to get access to funding support in terms of the linkage with institutions like the Central Bank of Nigeria, the World Bank and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector.

“Don’t leave here the same way you came in by yourself and exit by yourself; make friends, keep in contact, share information, share knowledge, share your experiences, as you go on an internship, come back together afterwards, share that learning as well. We are also trying to ensure that in terms of the linkages we have with the likes of CBN, in terms of the various schemes and interventions they have, especially around financing that we as a State can get that access for people like you”, she said.

The Commissioner, therefore, charged the participants to make themselves ambassadors of the Agripreneurship Programme by letting others know about agriculture and the many opportunities that exist therein.

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