The Oyo State Agricultural Development Programme (OYSADEP) has launched the Oyo Young Agropreneur (OYAP) initiative – a strategy put in place to galvanise youths in the state to take advantage of the potentials in agriculture.
OYAP, a youth wing of the Agricultural Development Farmers Association, under the aegis of OYSADEP Farmers’ Field School, was inaugurated on Thursday, at the group’s zonal office in Ibadan.
Programme Manager of OYSADEP, Mrs. Fadekemi Akande in her remarks, lauded the youths for their drive towards agricultural ventures, urging them to be more spirited in elevating the state’s agro-industry.
Speaking in her keynote address themed “Agribusiness: Unexploited Opportunities for Youths in Oyo State, Nigeria”, Director, Institute of Agricultural Research And Training (IAR&T), Prof. Veronica Obatolu hailed the Oyo State Government for supporting the agricultural sector through initiatives that encourage young people to venture into agriculture as a business.
According to Obatolu, the agricultural sector is packed with enough potentials to ensure sustainable development, adding that if the younger generation gets it right, the sector will be Nigeria’s greatest opportunity to drive inclusive and sustainable growth.
She said there was need for agriculture to move from subsistence farming to a more productive, effective and mechanized operations that leverage technology, innovation, best global practices as well as the passion, energy, and drive of the youths.
On his part, President of OYAP, Tubi Ibukun, while giving an insight into the group’s mission and vision, said they are an innovative and integrated agribusiness group for youths.
He stated that the group has been mandated to change the orientation of youths on agriculture and create employment opportunities, generate incomes and improve their standard of living.
Against this backdrop, OYSADEP has pledged to be readily available to render advisory services to the newly inaugurated young agropreneur group.
With different clusters under OYAP, the group will also work together with various institutions, including the private sector and also collaborate with offtakers.
Present at the inauguration were representatives from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), IAR&T, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), and the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT).
Also on ground, were executives from the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), Raw Material Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Women’s Research and Documentation Centre (WORDOC), as well as stakeholders and farmers’ groups from across Nigeria.