By Abdulrofiu Agboola, Osogbo
As part of his youths development programme, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi has concluded plans to train about 150 youths in a month long agro-processing training.
Oba Ogunwusi would be executing the training programme in collaboration with the Bank of Industry and Hephzibar Network.
This was disclosed by the Director, Media and Public Affairs, Ooni’s Palace, Comrade Moses Olafare, in the palace, Ile-Ife on Thursday, September 29, 2016, at a press conference to herald the Ife Youths Agroprenuership Summit commencing on October 6.
According to Olafare “the summit is aimed at exposing farmers and youths to overwhelming business opportunities domicile in Agro-Foods Industry as well as providing practical training, skills and financial support to these teeming youth population to embrace agriculture as a panacea to their economic uncertainties and joblessness.”.
Making calls for improvement of agricultural policies, he said, “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 grassroots 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.”
He added that the summit would “focus on Cassava processing, Maize processing, Agricultural and fish processing, mushroom cultivation, plantain processing, Agribusiness start-up and Development, Insight on exportation of local products, NAFDAC registration procedure, etc.”
The Head of Osun Bureau of the BoI, Emmanuel Ojowuro also said that the bank would be offering loan to some of the participants who have bankable agricultural projects.
Ojowuro further explained that the partnership was not only to provide fund but to also support skill development among youths in the area of agriculture.
He said, “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.”
In his contribution, the 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,” he added.
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