No fewer than 18,000 youths in Ondo State have been selected to partake in the training in various fields of agriculture organised by the state government as part of efforts to create employment through agriculture.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu disclosed this during the presentation of certificates to 40 participants in a training programme on the cassava enterprise project organised by Star Deepwater Petroleum Limited in partnership with Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta and the Ondo State Agricultural Business Empowerment Centre.
The governor, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Agriculture, Mr. Akin Olotu, stated that 1,000 youths from each of the 18 local government areas of the state would participate in the programme, adding that it would start next year.
According to him, the state government will also provide soft loans for graduates who are interested in agriculture.
“This administration is committed to taking the youth out of unemployment through agriculture,” he said.
The governor stressed the need to make agriculture attractive to the youth, urging them to embrace it.
He stated that the state government had commenced moves to lay the foundation for economic development in the state.
Akeredolu also explained that the state government recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in Oke Luse, Ose Local Government Area of the state on how to develop agriculture.
Also speaking at the event, the Market Development Officer, PIND, Mr. Emmanuel Nwala, said the 40 youths who received the certificates were recruited and commenced training in 2015, with each participant allocated 2.5 hectares of land to cultivate cassava.
According to him, all the participants have planted cassava and are awaiting harvest, adding that PIND and other organisations involved in the training were excited to see “what these farmers do with their businesses and their earnings, and the impact they will make on their communities.”
Nwala expressed optimism that the partnership would go a long way to address the challenges of youth unemployment in the state and would also serve as a model for boosting income.