About 200 unemployed youths in Ogun State have received N74.4million under the Fadama III agricultural programme of the Federal Government.
The State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun issued the cheques to the youths trained under the scheme in Abeokuta recently, while speaking on the government intervention programmes aimed at curbing unemployment and other social malaise.
He added that the beneficiaries will be incorporated into the Anchor Borrowers Scheme where each of them would be provided free land with certificates of occupancy issued in their names.
“You will also be entitled to clearing of the hectares of land. We will provide you seedlings and fertiliser as well as extension service”, he said.
“Already, we have secured people who would buy the farm produce and it is a win-win situation as the loans on offer carry single digit interest”, Abiodun added.
He urged the beneficiaries to utilize the funds effectively in order to achieve the programme’s objectives.
He said that the youths were both males and females selected from the 20 local government areas of the state.
The Coordinator further stated that the beneficiaries have received training in rice processing, poultry, fishery and other agricultural enterprises, adding that the invention was in line with the Federal Government’s effort to provide employment for the teeming youths.
“Apart from these gestures, the government is also going to add at least 10,000 youths on our agricultural entrepreneurship programme,” Abiodun said.
He observed that agriculture is becoming an antidote to the twin problem of poverty and insecurity in the country, adding that a gainfully employed citizenry would contribute in no small measure to the socioeconomic development of the state and the country.
Abiodun plans to put 40,000 youths on the Anchor Borrowers scheme with support from the World Bank and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“I have mandated my consultant on agriculture to mainstream these set of FADAMA graduates into our anchor borrowers programme and by the grace of God, you will be the first beneficiaries of our anchor borrowers’ programme.
Abiodun noted that: “The ‘Fadama Guys’ is particularly unique because it is targeted at two main vulnerable groups of our population, the youths and the women and we are also elated that our Public Private Partnership approach towards the successful implementation of building our future together agenda is already yielding positive results,” he said.
The Governor added that the Fadama Graduate Unemployed youths Scheme (Fadama Guys) at the Micro Economic level would provide employment opportunities in agriculture for youths and women, adding that the Macro Economic level would help the country boost its food and self sufficiency agenda.
“At the Micro Economic level, this Fadama Guys provides job employment opportunities in agriculture for our youths and women, thereby providing income and food for themselves and family, on the Macro Economic level, this is another boost to Nigeria’s Food and Self Sufficiency Agenda, this will go a long way to reduce foreign exchange spent on importation of food items that could be produced locally,” he said.
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Abosede Ogunleye said that the objective of the National Fadama Development Project Additional Funding was to increase the income of users of rural lands and water resources in a sustainable manner throughout the country, thereby reducing poverty, while food security was enhanced, urging the beneficiary to judiciously make use of the grants they received.
In his remarks, the Consultant to the Governor on agriculture, Dr. Adetunji Oredipe said that the conception and implementation of Fadama Guys has provided a unique opportunity for the program practitioners and government to harness the energy, motivation and innovation of the young people to strengthen the drive for diversification of the economy and social change, adding that beneficiaries of the program must be a Nigerian youth ,a graduate from any higher institution or an holder of the Secondary School Leaving Certificate who has practiced farming between the age of 18 and 35.
Oredipe also added that such beneficiary must have the knowledge about the computer, have access to land on a place where the Agric Enterprise would be cited, adding that a written statement stating that the beneficiary was willing to become an Agri-preneur would be required.
Also in his remarks, the National Project Coordinator, Fadama Guys, Balarabe Abdulrahman, represented by Adeleke Adeyemi, expressed his appreciation to the Ogun State Government for their support and keen interest in the project Fadama 3, saying that the gesture would boost the state’s rating by the National Office and the World Bank.