To sustain the on-going youth-focused agricultural programme in Edo State, the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration says it will in the first quarter of 2018, fully roll out its agriprenuer programme after a successful pilot scheme.
Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Budget, Mr. Joseph Eboigbe, who disclosed this in a chat with journalists in Benin City, Edo State capital, said that the programme is part of the state government’s plan for Micro, Small-scale and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and youth-focused agricultural initiatives.
Eboigbe said that though the government in 2017 provided cheap credit to MSMEs, in 2018, it will significantly enhance the package of incentives to the enterprises, as there is anticipated growth in the sector, which will naturally translate to jobs.
“In 2017, the state government piloted the agriprenuer scheme. By the first quota of 2018, we will roll out the programme fully. The agriprenuer programme will target about 55,000 youths, who indicated interest in agriculture through Edo Jobs,” he said.
According to him, “Each person will be allocated five-hectare land to de-risk the process. We intend that in one or two planting seasons, these youths will have developed the capacity to cultivate, manage the farm and harvest. From there, the youths will transit into managing their own farms on a sustainable basis.”
He added that the state government will continue to anchor its economic growth largely on agriculture, as it intends to exploit the 75 percent of its 20,000km2 arable land.
“We anticipate major economic growth in the agriculture value chain; from production, cultivation processing; harvesting and processing,” he added.
Other sectors that will record significant activities in 2018, according to him, include: construction, MSMEs, and services sector.
“The government will embark on massive road construction and rehabilitation projects; and as part of the urban and rural development plans, the state government will scale up housing development in the state. All these will translate to more jobs for our people,” he added.