With the pandemic affecting jobs, the Lagos State Coconut Development Agency (LASCODA) is training about 100 youths, retirees and women to use coconut shells in art and craft to earn income.
The training, begun last week for the first set of 20 beneficiaries at the Farm Service Centre, Oko-Oba Agege, would final for 5 weeks that it could take to upskill 100 participants.
Speaking at the opening of the coaching last Monday, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, represented by the General Manager, LASCODA, Mr Dapo Olakulehin, said the beneficiaries were among 15,000 youths and women to be trained this year in agricultural-related businesses.
She said: “This is one of many agricultural empowerments, coaching and skill development programmes lined up by the Ministry of Agriculture for the year 2021 with the overall objectives of creating job opportunities for more than 15,000 youths and women before the end of the year.
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“This is the first batch of the coaching that’s commencing today, under the Coconut sub-sector of Agriculture which is, therefore, a subset of the main goal of Ministry of Agriculture to produce more than 15,000 agri-preneurs by building their capacity and empower them not only to become economically independent but also employers of labour.”
Speaking in his capacity as LASCODA GM, Olakulehin urged the participants to take the coaching seriously as it had the potential to change their finances for the better and make them employers of labour.
“The coaching is all about converting waste to wealth – that is making use of coconut shell which we normally consider as waste to make creative issues. A lot of creative works can be getting out of this – like picture portrait, pen holder, bangles, necklace and others.
“At present, due to the COVID-19 protocols, the capability of the hall is 75 but we’re just trainingn20 people and since the batch is 100 and the implication is that in the next five weeks or so we will continue the coaching of 20 people per session and we hope it continues until the end of the year, for this batch we are looking at 100 but for this session it’s 20 in other to align with the COVID-19 protocols,” he stated.
Assistant Director, Planning, Monitoring and evaluation, LASCODA, Mr. Olatunji Hamzat, said in addition to learning the craft, the beneficiaries would also be taught how to run successful businesses.
“Part of what we’re going to do is entrepreneurship development where they are going to be engaged by people and officers from Agric business. They will not only be acquiring the skills however learn what do you do with the skills and how do you get resources to finance such from peasant level to a larger stage where they can become employers of labour,” he stated.