Empowering Oyo youths through agribusiness initiatives
Two years into his four-year tenure, Governor Seyi Makinde’s efforts to take youths off the street through the Youth Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness Project (YEAP) have begun to give signals of possibility.
No fewer than 300 youths in Oyo State graduated under the YEAP scheme after completing their training at the CSS Integrated Farms, Gora, Nasarawa State, recently.
YEAP’s objective, done in collaboration with CSS Integrated Farms, is to empower youths through agriculture based on the governor’s policy of addressing youth unemployment and channelling them towards productive ventures.
The trainees had learnt the nitty-gritty of agribusiness within two weeks and had been exposed to innovations in cassava value chain, poultry farming, chicken processing, livestock rearing, fish farming, irrigation system, ICT application in agribusiness and farm management, among others.
Makinde said the outcome of the programme was impressive and the initiative was to make multiple young millionaires in the state.
He noted that the initiative was a result of his commitment to empowering youths so they could empower others, thereby lifting Oyo from poverty to prosperity.
Chairman of CSS Farms, Prof. John-Kennedy Opara, said it was going to run for six months, during which about 600 participants would be trained monthly.
The governor, however, disclosed that the number of trainees would soon be increased to 10,000 yearly. While addressing the beneficiaries recently, Makinde said: “The training will go on till the end of next year. If we finish training the 10,000 and we are able to successfully empower you, if each of you can turn in over N10 million yearly in terms of businesses, that is a N100 billion economy for Oyo State and I know it is possible.
“If you are raising a thousand chickens, it’s about N230,000, which is about the cost of one motorcycle.
“How much can one Okada give to one individual in one year? But in three to four months, you can turn that N230,000 to N2.5 million. And if you do that four times in a year, that is N10 million.”
Director-General of the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency and Coordinator of the YEAP, Dr. Debo Akande, said though the state was already building an agribusiness incubation centre in Awe, its choice of CSS Farms was due to integrated farming approach employed by the outfit.
“We discovered this particular training centre in Nasarawa is integrated, meaning that it has all you can talk about from farm to fork,” he said.
Meanwhile, a beneficiary, Ogundiran Omosalewa, commended the governor for the opportunity provided for the youth and promised that he and his colleagues would return to Oyo to make impact.
Another beneficiary, Rabiu Rahman, from Oorelope Local Government, Igboho, said: “I am a postgraduate student of Bayero University, Kano. After my programme, I started a little livestock business. So, I am an entrepreneur. A friend sent me the link to apply for this programme on WhatsApp, I applied and got it after an interview.”