The Lagos State Government (LASG) says it will establish fruit orchards in 20 secondary schools across the state.
It said that this would help to fast-track its policy development and build the culture of tree planting and re-greening the environment in students and youths.
The State Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, in a statement on Sunday said that planting of fruit trees in schools was also to encourage students to become healthy, productive and maintain a sound environment.
Olusanya listed some of the fruit trees to be planted as orange, tangelo, grape and pawpaw.
She emphasised that it was important to plant trees, especially,in a coastal city like Lagos stressing that the exercise would contribute in no small measures to the transformation of Lagos into a greener, healthier and safer state.
“It will also help produce youths who are conscious of their environment,” she said.
According to her, this exercise will further encourage fruit consumption among students which is important for the provision of micronutrients to the body.
“These food items are a rich source of vitamins and minerals required for the growth, development and normal functioning of the human body.
“The governor’s policy of fast-tracking the development of Lagos State is hinged on the THEMES 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,” she said.
Olusanya listed the schools as: 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 and Agufoye Girls’ Model College, Bayeku.
They also include: 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 Martin High School, Iponri; Badagry Grammar School, Badagry; Awori Senior College, Ojo and Agidigbi Grammar School, Ikeja.
Also , Estate Senior Grammar School, Mushin; Eko Boys High School, Mushin and Oshodi High School, Oshod would benefit from the project.
She said that the students of the selected schools would be engaged to set up nurseries, tree planting and other conservation activities which would encourage their involvement and participation in agricultural practices and environmental education.
The acting commissioner noted 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.
“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 shades, wind brakes, prevention of flood and desert encroachment, as well as reducing the effect of global warming,” she said.
Olusanya added that tree planting was also very important for the environment, as it always provides oxygen, cool atmosphere, help conserve energy, save water, prevent erosion, save children from ultra-violet rays and provide food which are sources of vitamins.
“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 to purchase 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 by using the experience in the establishment of home gardens, tending them and making some economic gains from the sales of fruits,” she said.
Olusanya, therefore, stressed the need for every community in Lagos state and indeed the country at large to adopt tree planting as a top priority adding that there was no better place to start, than in the schools.