Hi guys! Thank you so much for sticking around and checking up on me wondering why I hadn’t blogged in so long…much appreciated. Will explain in the next post but right now let’s see about this post that I’ve been holding on to for a month….
The Lagos State Government (Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives) is actively promoting agriculture especially among the youths. The state’s Agriculture Sector Policy Goals are: ensure all year round availability of affordable food in Lagos, ensure access to safe, hygienic and nutritious food within the state, achieve economic growth and diversification through agriculture and development of forest resources and regulation of use of forest produce.
One of the ways to achieve these goals is through the ‘School Agricultural Programme Vegetable Project”. The project involves rolling out greenhouses into 5 high schools across the state. Some of the aims of this project is to make agriculture more attractive to the youth and raise awareness of the modern developments and opportunities within the agriculture space.
So we headed down to one of the schools to see how the project was being implemented, to see first hand how the project was going. The folks at the ministry told us it was going great…but you know how it is…we believe you but we have to go see ourselves… :-). The name of the school is Keke High School in Agege, Lagos state. Above is a cross-section of the school. Being there brought back memories :-)…. I digress…
When we arrived we met with the agriculture teacher, the gentle man on the left and the principal, the lady in cream. They were kind enough to take time out of their busy schedule to talk about the project and their experiences.
So we gathered round to really talk about the project, its impact, challenges and opportunities. First and foremost we were all in agreement that it’s a great idea and it has exposed both the staff and students of the school to a different face of agriculture. Some of the wins of the project is the exposure it has created for both students and staff, ability to grow crops for sale to generate income that would not have being available and the access to other people and organizations they would not have had if this programme was not implemented.
However there have been some real challenges such has inadequate training. Let’s camp out on lack of training because it is at the core of all the challenges that were encountered. The lack of training resulted in a non sustainable way of sterilizing the soil, both in terms of labour man hours and impact on the environment. The loss of a significant amount of their harvest due to pest and diseases that could have been avoided or easily corrected. All these factors obviously have notable financial implications.
Nevertheless the attitude towards the project is very positive and upbeat. Both the students and staff are enjoying the whole process and experience. The learning process although challenging has been enjoyable. They would never have been able to get access to this type of technology because of the cost of acquisition. Their produce is not perfect but it is good enough to take to market.
In this picture one of the staff is talking to me about how they weigh and sell their produce. Basically we were discussing the marketing side of the process which is fundamental to the success of any business.
My thoughts: This is a fantastic idea however I think a lot can and should be done to take it to the next level. Before we start thinking about how we can execute on taking it to the next level a forum needs to be created that ensures all key stakeholders actively engage in the conversation. The purpose is to discuss in detail the lessons learnt (both positive and negative), how to leverage on the positive and mitigate against the negative in the next phase and come up with an action plan.
A huge thanks to the staff at Keke High School. It was a pleasure meeting with them, they were very generous with their time and produce. Their level of professionalism and depth of knowledge was very impressive. I look forward to more engagements with the team down there.
Thank you so much for sticking around! 🙂