IYA partners with Oyo State Government to resuscitate rural training center
IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) is partnering with the Oyo State Government on revitalizing and using the Rural Community Development Centre (RCDC) in Awe, Afijio Local Government Area of Oyo town, as a satellite site for its youth-in-agribusiness related activities.
IYA proposed that the RCDC, which is located about 56 kilometers from Ibadan, be used for agribusiness incubation, an agribusiness park, the establishment of pilot learning enterprises, and a training center. The center, a farm training institute owned by the Oyo State Government, will enable IYA to expand its activities and allow young people to have hands-on experience on agribusiness.
The Governor of Oyo State, His Excellency Engr. Seyi Makinde was at the RCDC on 10 June to flag off the proposed IYA agribusiness incubation activities. Deputy Governor Rauf Olaniyan accompanied him, with the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Muyiwa Ojekunle, the executive adviser to the Oyo State Governor on agribusiness Dr Debo Akande, the chief of staff of Oyo State Chief Bisi Ilaka, rural chiefs, and other top public officials of Oyo State.
In his welcome address, Ojekunle stated that the Governor is flagging off the project to fulfill his promise to use agriculture as one of the major drivers of the Oyo State economy. He said, “The effort is to start here today in Afijio local government and gradually spread to other parts of the State. This initiative will also help in building the capacity of youth who will pursue a career in the agricultural sector.”
Representing the IITA Director-General, Dr Kenton Dashiell, Deputy Director General, Partnerships for Delivery, stated that the Institute’s efforts in engaging the youth have been impactful and have given birth to job creators and employers of labor.
He stressed that the Institute, with the support of the state government, intends to transform the facility at Awe into an agribusiness training center for the benefit of young people in the state and environs.
Outlining the plans of IYA for the center, Osun Idowu on behalf of IYA, said the agribusiness park will see young people operating businesses in a cluster. He said IYA would use the established pilot enterprises to conduct agribusiness incubation for the youth. However, he appealed to the governor to allocate some resources to renovate some of the facilities at the center.
Some youth who have benefited from the incubation program of IYA under different projects also gave testimonies. Oyinkansola Bamimure, a beneficiary of the Youth in Agribusiness and Sustainable Agriculture (YEASA) project, who processes maize into pap and custard powder, and Gbemisola Olawore, a beneficiary of the ENABLE-TAAT project, who owns a fish processing business, spoke about how the IYA program has helped in creating career paths in the agricultural sector for them. They also talked about their business challenges such as funding and verification of their products by the national food bodies, which would enable them to access a broader market.
In his vote of thanks, Akande appreciated IITA for its support and willingness to work with the Oyo State Government in resuscitating the Awe facility that has been moribund for many years. He said, “What we are doing is to change the narrative for youth in Oyo State and Nigeria so that our products will not only be in Nigeria but on the shelves of international supermarkets. I am sure that this place will yield millions of naira to youth every year.”