Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde on Monday launched the first phase of the Youth Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness Project (YEAP) at the OYSADA Complex, Saki. The Governor also commissioned the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA) headquarters.

The Youth Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness Project is a state-wide job creation initiative targeting graduates between the ages of 25-35 years who have been excluded from the wealth creation process due to a lack of productive jobs. 

The project complements ongoing work by OYSADA in the Oyo State Youth in Agribusiness Programme and seeks to promote the social and occupational inclusion of youth in profitable ventures that will create income and decent, sustainable jobs in the tomato, vegetable, cereal, livestock, root and tuber value chains, and seed production.

“Oyo state youths are to be the major contributors to the development of agribusiness in the state”, Governor Makinde said at the launch that also had the Deputy Governor Engr. Rauf Olaniyan in attendance.

“The present government is working towards making Oyo state the agricultural hub of Nigeria”, he added, noting that youth-focused initiatives to drive employment and wealth creation through agribusiness are an integral part of that effort.

The first phase of the YEAP will benefit 1,000 unemployed young people from all 33 local government areas of the state, 30 per cent of whom are female. Beneficiaries were selected from a pool of applicants across the state.

Beneficiaries will be incubated at the IITA-Oyo State Agribusiness Park Center, Awe where they will receive technical and entrepreneurial training and start-up grants to establish sustainable income-generating activities in agriculture and related enterprises.

Furthermore, through capacity-building, the project will have qualitative implications for the state’s food security and nutritional status, which is already among the best in Nigeria.

The Executive Adviser to the Governor on Agribusiness and Director-General of OYSADA, Dr. Debo Akande remarked that the YEAP initiative will enhance young people’s access to employment opportunities and attractive, well-paying jobs in agriculture and related enterprises. As a result, he said, they will become actors in modern agricultural value chains that are responsive to market demands.

Dr. Akande revealed the YEAP initiative could potentially boost the Internally Generated Revenue of Oyo State by 37% and will also lead to positive social outcomes for young people.

“As an agency, we are committed to building the youths, which in turn will build the future of the State, through agriculture we are working to ensure that our youths are well looked after and well behaved in the society,” Dr. Akande said. 

“The Program will provide entrepreneurship development projects that link youth with access to agricultural resources, business partners, development organizations, and other agripreneurs in Oyo state.”

The Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Hon. MuyiwaOjekunle noted the link between food security and national security, stressing that solving the former will facilitate positive social change that addresses the latter. “Food is the number one security”, he said. “If there is enough food in the country, we won’t have the problem of insecurity we are facing in the country.”

On commissioning the new OYSADA headquarters, Governor Makinde said locating the facility in the Oke-Ogun zone will ensure support for agribusiness in Oyo state’s food basket as well as drive investment and spur economic growth in the wider area.

The state-of-the-art office complex was reconstructed from the moribund facilities of the defunct Oyo State Agricultural Development Project (OYSADEP) and will now become the permanent offices of OYSADA.

Since its establishment in April 2020, OYSADA has lacked a permanent structure to run its activities, operating temporarily out of Ibadan.

Following the flagging off ceremony to renovate, expand and remodel the former OYSADEP headquarters to a permanent base for OYSADA in June 2020, construction work started that June and lasted 10 months.

The remodeled facility includes the Human Resources building, Administrative building, the Library and the Seed and Soil Laboratory.

“With this commissioning, we are taking another giant leap towards the development and opening of this area,” Governor Makinde said.

“All the former staff of OYSADEP that were moved to OYSADA have now relocated to Saki. This facility will now become the seat where all agribusiness transactions will be made. 

“The staff are now closer to the people that need them. This will have a multiplier effect on the economic activities in this zone.”

Mr. Idris Akinteye, a YEAP beneficiary from Kajola Local Government, Oke Ogun, remarked: “This is my first time of being in this kind of gathering, and I really commend Governor Makinde for this laudable programme, with this, I can say that youths in the State have a bright future.

Another beneficiary Mr. Mustapha Ridwan from Saki East Sepeteri added: I must commend the selection process of this program, as it is not based on politics, or having connection with politicians, I obtained my form online and I was called that I’m qualified for the programme, and this is great, with this development, I believe the future of the State is very bright.”

The event was also attended by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Bisi Ilaka, the Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon. Debo Ogundoyin, Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon. Seun Fakorede and other government functionaries.

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