Not less than 1,000 unemployed young people are to benefit from the first phase of the Youth Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness Project (YEAP) in Oyo State.
The YEAP is part of several youth-focused initiatives by Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA) aimed to empower 15,000 women and youths through agribusiness entrepreneurship by 2028. Expected impacts include the generation of 45,000 direct and indirect jobs, realisation of $50m worth of new investments in Oyo State through these youth-led agribusiness enterprises and the production of 50 made-in-Oyo fast moving consumer goods.
In the first phase, while 30 percent of the beneficiaries of the project are female, they will be incubated at the IITA-Oyo State Agribusiness Park Centre, Awe, receive technical and entrepreneurial training and start-up grants to establish sustainable income-generating activities in agriculture and related enterprises.
YEAP 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.
Speaking at the launch and commissioning of Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA) headquarters in Saki, Governor Seyi Makinde
said 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.
“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,” Makinde said.
“Oyo State youths are to be the major contributors to the development of agribusiness in the state. The present government is working towards making Oyo state the agricultural hub of Nigeria,” he said.
The governor noted 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,” he said.
Furthermore, through capacity-building, he said 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, Debo Akande, said the YEAP initiative could potentially boost the Internally Generated Revenue of Oyo State by 37 percent 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,” Akande said.
“The programme will provide entrepreneurship development projects that link youth with access to agricultural resources, business partners, development organizations, and other agripreneurs in Oyo state,” he said.
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.
“With this commissioning, we are taking another giant leap towards the development and opening of this area,” 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,” he said.