FG, Ekiti Partner On Agric Initiative To Wipe Out Unemployment

May 1, 2012

L-R: Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina; Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; and Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Babajide Arowosafe, during the Flag Off of the Youth Commercial Agriculture Development (YCAD) Programme and 2012 Farming Season, in Ido-Osi, Ekiti State... on Monday.

The Federal Government has promised its support for Ekiti State Government to actualise its agricultural development programmes, especially the Youth Commercial Agriculture Development (YCAD) programme which is aimed at repositioning Ekiti as the food basket of the South-West and employ no fewer than 20,000 youths in the sector.

Speaking at the launch of the programme at Orin Farm settlement,  Orin Ekiti, the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said agriculture remains  the only sure way to address problems of poverty, food insecurity and unemployment in the country.

The Governor who said his interest in the youth empowerment has, since his assumption of office in 2010, been based on its potentials as a potent tool to tackle poverty and equip the next generation of Nigerians for the future, added that the initiative has the capacity to trigger off socio-economic, educational and political empowerment.

Fayemi lamented the rising rate of unemployment in the country  amidst the exciting GDP growth figures recorded so far between 2010 and 2012; adding that unemployment rate now stood at 23.9 per cent, while youths bear the negative impact of the unpleasant rise.

Fayemi said: “I have said times without number that modernisation of agriculture in Ekiti State is a task that must be done. We have chosen to bear this responsibility since we beleive that given the right impetus, agriculture has the potentials to rapidly transform the socio-economic landscape of Ekiti State. This is why we must seek to move from peasant farming to taking agriculture as business as quickly as possible”.

The Governor  who explained the rationale behind the YCAD programme, said it was obvious that the agricultural population of Ekiti State was rapidly ageing, stressing that  there was need to rejuvenate the sector through the infusion of young blood as emergent farmers, conditioning them to the realities of modernisation under improved farm practice.

Fayemi said Y-CAD is expected to provide necessary technical and managerial farming skills for selected unemployed youths using a learn-on-the farm approach and facilitate the acquisition of basic and advanced skills for commercial agric business start-up and expose the selected youths to skills required to operate and manage commercial farms.

While assuring existing farmers of government’s intervention to transform them through the Farm Expansion programme  where over 300 large scale arable farmers with between 10 to 100 hectares will emerge, the Governor added that government would henceforth assist farmers to rehabilitate 500 hectares of Cocoa plantation yearly  while Oil palm farmers would not be left out.

“To increase productivity this year, almost  N1.7 billion is budgetted for capital projects in agriculture. Also, in partnership with the Federal Government over  N290 million be expended on fertilizer and over  N50million on improved seedlings and agro-chemicals subsidies. We have perfected the platform to directly link up with farmers to make this a reality.”

Fayemi who announced that he had also got a portion of farm land at the Farm Settlement, which he intends to cultivate,  explained that the Y-CAD programme was designed to generate 1,500 direct and about 10,000 indirect jobs this year, adding that with this, the 20,000 youths engagement would be realized before 2014.

The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Adesina said the Federal Government was subsidsing agriculture as it was subsidising fertiliser with 25 per cent  of the cost while  the state government was susbisdising with another 25 per cent  of the cost; adding that the distribution of fertiliser has been changed with the introduction of e-wallet to ensure transparency.

Adesina described Fayemi as a dynamic and focused Governor who has the vision to wipe out poverty. He stated that the Federal Government was planning to establish a cassava factory in the State, while three million seedlings of new cocoa hybrid would be distributed free of charge to fsarmers in the State.

Also speaking at the event, the United Nations Representative Coordinator, Mr. Daoda Toure described the YCAD initiative as one that the UN salute and would continue to support, since the role of agriculture, according to him,  cannot be over-emphasised in the nation’s economy.

Toure added that the agric sector gives hope to nations and allowing them to feed and make savings for the future; adding that it was hoped that other states of the federation would take a cue from Ekiti by replicating the initiative.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Babajide Arowsafe had earlier explained that the programme was to change youths orientation about agriculture ;saying that it was no longer the era of cutlasses and hoe but an era of modernised farming coupled with entrepreneurial skills.

He said as the state was raising emergent farmers who would take over from the ageing farmers, it would mark a major turnaround for the people of Ekiti and Nigeria and raise the hope of a better and secure future for the nation.


Last modified: May 1, 2012

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