The Lagos State Government has announced plans to establish fruit orchards in 20 Secondary Schools to fast-track a development policy of the State, especially building the culture of tree planting and re-greening the environment among students and youths in Lagos.
The State’s Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, who disclosed this over the weekend, noted that the planting of fruit trees in selected secondary schools is also to encourage students to become healthy, productive and conscious of their immediate environment.
Olusanya emphasised the importance of tree planting in a coastal City like Lagos, saying that the exercise would contribute in no small measure to the transformation of Lagos into a greener, healthier, safer and more orderly State.
“The Governor’s policy of fast-tracking the development of Lagos State is hinged on the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda. Part of this is to engage the youth, particularly students, so that they can become healthy, productive and environmentally sound. In this regard, the Ministry of Agriculture is establishing fruit orchards in 20 secondary schools in the three senatorial districts in the State”, Olusanya said.
According to her, the exercise would further encourage fruit consumption by students, which is important for the provision of micronutrients to the body, as these food items are rich sources of vitamins and minerals required for the growth, development and normal functioning of the human body.
She stated that the students of the selected schools would further be engaged to set up nurseries, tree planting and other conservation activities to encourage involvement and participation in agricultural practices as well as environmental education.
The Acting Commissioner pointed out that apart from the agricultural gains of the fruit tree planting, students would be taught the importance of plants and trees in sustaining the environment because tree planting is one of the most reliable and cheapest means of combating the effect of global warming and climate change.
“Trees are fell indiscriminately without replacement and this has exposed the environment to erosion and other natural and environmental disasters, especially for a coastal State like Lagos; as such, we need to embrace the culture of planting trees because of the many benefits inherent in tree planting some of which include the provision of shade, wind brakes, prevention of flood and desert encroachment, as well as reducing the effect of global warming among others”, she averred.
Olusanya added that tree planting is also very important for the environment as it provides oxygen, cools the atmosphere, helps conserve energy, saves water, prevents erosion, saves children from ultra-violet rays and provides foods that are sources of vitamins.
In her words: “Generally, the fruit tree planting exercise will ensure that the students are meaningfully engaged in agricultural practices as well as get necessary diet supplements, which include vitamins from fruits, without having to spend money on purchasing them. They will also be taught to understand the roles of plants in environmental sustainability while at the same time preparing them for self-reliance, using their experience in the establishment of home gardens, tending them and making some economic gains from the sales of fruits”.
While stressing the need for every community in Lagos State, and indeed the country, to adopt tree planting exercise as a top priority, Olusanya said that there is no better place to start than in the schools.
Some of the fruit trees to be planted are sweet orange, tangelo, grape and pawpaw trees among others.
The selected schools include Yewa Junior High School, Agege; Vetland Grammar School, Orile Agege; Lagos State Senior Model College, Igbookuta; Oriwu Junior Model College, Ikorodu; Community Senior Secondary School, Bayeku; Agufoye Girls’ Model College, Bayeku; Pobuna Secondary School, Poka, Noforija, Epe; St Patrick Secondary School, Odo Iragushi; Ibeju Senior High, Ibeju; King Ado High School, Lagos Island and Ansarudeen Grammar School, Surulere.
Others are Nawardeen Senior High School, Ebute Meta; United Christian Secondary School, Apapa; Jubril Martins High School, Iponri; Badagry Grammar School, Badagry; Awori Senior College, Ojo; Agidingbin Grammar School, Ikeja; Estate Senior Grammar School, Mushin; Eko Boys High School, Mushin and Oshodi High School, Oshodi.