In a bid to promote agriculture and expose students to modern agricultural skills and techniques, the Lagos State Government has launched the Smart Aquaponics and Poultry System (SAP-Sys) Units in six colleges. The launch, which took place at the handing over of the six completed SAP-Sys units, is aimed at engendering food security and stimulating the interest of the younger generation in farming.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, who spoke at the event, described the development as another landmark feat in the history of the state. The beneficiaries of the first phase of the SAP-Sys Units are Lagos City Senior College, Sabo-Yaba; Igbobi College, Yaba; Omole Senior Grammar School, 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 is a solar-powered, modern, innovative integrated farm technology for rearing aquaculture, hydroponics, and poultry simultaneously. It is a component of the Lagos Agric Scholars’ Programme (LASP) which was developed by the Ministry and approved by the State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to positively impact and empower the youth.
Speaking further, the Commissioner stated that the programme 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. “Through this project, we are equipping students with sound practical knowledge of Agriculture as a complement to the theoretical aspect taught in the classroom in the short-term, whilst enhancing food production and security through active youth participation in agriculture, in the long run”, she said.
The project aims to stimulate students’ interest in agriculture through on-farm engagement, educational competitions, and agricultural enterprise development. It also seeks to build students’ socio-emotional and technical skills in agriculture, agricultural technology, and the adoption of the latest global agricultural best practices within the school-agricultural ecosystem.
Each of the schools was provided with a unit of Smart Agri-Pyramid Systems (SAP-Sys) stocked with 400 fish juveniles, 50 Point of Lay Birds, planted vegetables (fruit and leafy) and complemented with the provision of inputs for food production and micro-enterprise activation championed by students and regularly monitored by technical officers of the Ministry of Agriculture.
To ensure sustainability, agricultural extension officers will routinely monitor the farms on a monthly basis and scale up training of teachers and students by exposing them to modern techniques of farming, while there is also a plan to establish the farms in all public schools in the state.
At the handing-over ceremony, the Principals of the benefiting colleges all commended Governor Sanwo-Olu and the State Government, particularly the Ministry of Agriculture for the initiative of the modern school farm, saying the project would go a long way in boosting agriculture production and stimulating the interest of students in farming.