No fewer than 150 youths would be getting an intensive one month agro-processing training in a partnership arrangement with the Bank of Industry(BOI) and Hephzibar Network the Youth Development NGO appointed by the Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Oguinwusi (Ojaja II).
The programme is part of the maiden edition of Ife Youth Agroprenuership Summit(IYAS) slated for October 6, 2016 at Ile-Ife.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Ooni’s Chief Press Secretary Comrade Moses Olafare, explained that promoting agro-processing would address the menace of poverty and staggering unemployment challenges in Nigeria.
While noting that the partnership was one of the drives of Ooni to aid Nigeria’s growth, he called for improvement of agricultural policies.
His words: “With several areas of support and budgeting from the government at all levels, and donor agencies both locally and internationally, farmers would have the chance to earn much more with a bit of extra effort.
“In order to achieve the benefits of agro-processing, it is important to improve the agricultural policy of the country. It is also vital to attract adequate budgeting, not only in the form of donations, but also regular business investments. This can be done through a proper investment policy of government.
“The productive use of technologies by the grassroot youth should be maximally encouraged as this would increase the speed and quality of the process. There is still much to be done in this area.
“The important thing to remember is that once grassroot farmers and their government understand the importance of agro-processing development, the entire society will start moving towards a brighter tomorrow that is free of poverty, and of course hunger and unemployment will be drastically reduced.”
The Head of Osun Bureau of BOI, Emmanuel Ojowuro, said BOI would be offering loan to some of the participants who have bankable agricultural ideas.
He explained that the partnership was not only to provide fund but to also support skill development among youths in the area of agriculture.
“This is a development oriented programme for the youths. We are not to just finance but participate in the development of youths. We are partnering from the beginning to the end.
We will be financing some of the participants who have bankable ideas at 9 per cent interest rate per annum. But if an arrangement between us and the Ooni crystalises, it may not be more than five per cent per annum. We have different kind of scheme that the participants can benefit from.” Ojowuro said.
Chief Executive Officer of Hephzibar Network, Mr. Olamide Awosunle, noted that the participants were limited to 150 to ensure effectiveness.
“It is a project in favour of the youths and the nation. Limiting the participants to 150 is to ensure effectiveness. Awosunle stated.
He added that the Summit for this year would be focused on Cassava Processing, Maize Processing, Aquaculture and Fish processing, Mushroom Cultivation, Plantain Processing, Agribusiness Start-Up and Development, Insight on Exportation of Local Products, and NAFDAC Registration Procedure among others.