By Gertrude Onyekachukwu-Uteh
ASABA/Nigeria: In line with its vision of diversifying the state economy through agriculture, addition 43 livestock farmers have been enrolled into the State Government’s Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP.)
The Chief Job and Wealth Creation Officer, Prof Eric Eboh, disclosed this during the Orientation and Farm Enterprise Training (OFET) for Brown YAGEP enrollees in the 2020/2021 Cycle held at the Conference Hall of the Delta State Job and Wealth Creation Bureau, Asaba.
Addressing the beneficiaries, the Chief Job and Wealth Creation Officer, represented by the Programme Supervisor, YAGEP, Mr. Sam Ndikanwu, explained that the participants constituted the third batch of Brown YAGEPreneurs in the 2020/2021 Cycle, adding that the first batch comprised 158 youth farmers in Crop Production while the second were 121 in Poultry, Piggery and Fish Productions, and Bee-Keeping.
He said the third batch being 43 in number were a mop-up exercise of those in livestock production alone such as Poultry, Piggery and Fish Productions respectively, bringing the total number of Brown YAGEP beneficiaries in the cycle to 322.
He listed the categories of YAGEP as Green YAGEP and Brown YAGEP, explaining that Green YAGEP are youths who are freshers in agricultural enterprises but required training in a chosen agricultural skill followed with provision of facilities, materials and financial support to start-up and run an agricultural enterprise, while Brown YAGEP referred to youths who already had agricultural skills and own agricultural enterprises but needed refresher training in practical and managerial skills plus support packages to grow and sustain their existing enterprises.
According to him, “People do not just enroll in the programme. There are processes we adopt to enroll youths in Brown YAGEP. We go out to the local government areas for enumeration survey to identify youths involved in agriculture. We do not mean political farmers, but actual farmers.”
He pointed out that the State Government has trained, established and supported over 1, 400 YAGEPreneurs in the past six years with the aim of nurturing them to become gainfully self-employed agricultural entrepreneurs and employers of labour.
He noted that the OFET was organized to enroll and familiarize them with the principles and methods of YAGEP with special reference to key management topics and issues such as critical success factors in farm enterprise management, managing risks and uncertainties in agricultural production.
He said the farm enterprise training workshop would be followed with provision of support packages to the beneficiaries in terms of breed stock, feeds according to enterprise, and monitoring and mentoring by the Directorate of Youth Monitoring and Mentoring.
Speaking separately, Tuoyo Blankson (Ndokwa West LGA), a poultry farmer and Eseoghene Owhvwie (Udu LGA) in Fish Production appreciated the State Government for the opportunity to be part of the programme. They expressed their readiness to use the support package to expand their farm enterprises.
The topics, “Management and Best Practices in Poultry, Fish and Piggery Productions” were delivered by the Resource Persons, Miss Emmanuella Clinton, Mr. Chiweike Nwankwo and Mr. Jude Mordi respectively.