James Sowole in Akure
The Federal Government and the World Bank under the FADAMA III Project have approved a new programme initiative under the Graduate Unemployment Youths Support Scheme known as FADAMA GUYSS, with the aim of engaging about 6,000 youths in agricultural enterprises.
The Fadama National Project Coordinator (NPC), Mr. Tayo Adewunmi disclosed this in Akure, Ondo State capital during the meeting with the Ondo State Federated Fadama Community Association (FFCA), which was attended by various stakeholders under the scheme.
Adewunmi said under the scheme, about 300 youths from ages 18 to 35 years would be encouraged to go into agriculture as a profession and business in about 20 states. He said in subsequent programmes, between 500 and 1,000 youths would be accommodated under the scheme.
â€œThe programme, named GUYSS, is to encourage youths from the ages of 18 to 35 and maximum of 40 years to go into agriculture as a profession and business. By study, real farmers are aging away, some dead and old. To start with, 15 to 20 states, including Ondo, will be among the first phase of 200 to 300 youths per state.
â€œBy end of June, starter packs should be given to the youths based on different enterprise of interest like aquaculture, or poultry. My coming to Ondo State is at the right time because we have a lot to anchor this year for our youths in the countryâ€, he said.
The FADAMA National Project Coordinator said a good number of youths can be taken away from social vices and restiveness through agriculture, adding that there is a plan for Sunshine rice in Ondo State before the end of the year.
â€œWe want to make sure that the rice we are producing, we bring it out publicly, and give it a name and brand. What the World Bank wants us to do is to test-run the project in about 10 states, but we were able to convince our minister and the World Bank country director to allow us to do it at least in 20 states. The project design is to give money or equipment to allow them start business on different agricultural enterprises on their own.â€
The NPC said the programme would engage 200 to 300 youths in each state for a start, adding that 500 to 1000 youths would be engaged in subsequent programmes. He called on the youths to endeavour to register their names online this week when the programmes are broadcast on radio, television and other media outfits.
Adewumi also noted that the federal and state governments were working on modalities to continue to create awareness and sensitisation for both farmers and the herdsmen to live in peace across the country.
Speaking earlier, the Ondo State FFCA Chairman, Mr. Akin Olotu appreciated the NPC of the FADAMA Project for its landmark achievement across the nooks and crannies of the nation.
Olotu noted that efforts by the FFCA to secure a friendly credit portfolio for members to revive their projects have not been easy and had become a great source of discouragement to the members.
According to him, FFCA was able to secure some hectares of land from the Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority for use by members for cluster farming but were constrained because of lack of tractors.
â€œWe only have 13 tractors in whole of the state and the tractors are not in good condition and we have been told that it will take over N1million to repair themâ€, he said.