IITA DG encourages teachers to create agribusiness enterprises
The impact of the IITA youth program Start Them Early Program (STEP) is far reaching; it goes beyond focusing on students alone and influences teachers to make the right entrepreneurial decisions to generate more income for themselves. The communities, by extension, enjoy the intervention because of the numerous benefits from the program, including the provision of pipe-borne water, solar power, bright students, and new agribusiness techniques.
On 14 July, IITA Director General Dr Nteranya Sanginga and the STEP team visited two of the six secondary schools chosen for STEP expansion under the first phase of the STEP-Oyo State Government Project to inspect the progress of the ongoing rehabilitation of facilities. At United Missionary Church of Africa (UMCA) Secondary Grammar School, Igbeti and Iresaadu High School, Iresaadu along Ogbomoso Road, the DG and his team toured the newly built infrastructure as well as the rehabilitated facilities, including the Laboratory, Value Addition Center, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) facility.
After the tour, the DG proposed a new initiative for teachers to also benefit from the project. Although recommending aquaculture for UMCA teachers and goat production for Iresaadu teachers, he suggested that a meeting be fixed to deliberate on and finalize the corporate agribusiness to be established for each group. This initiative is a way of ensuring the sustainability of STEP in those schools beyond the inauguration of facilities. “This will also keep you busy and innovative as it will educate as well as generate another source of income for you individually and for the school,” he said.
The DG also encouraged the “waste to wealth” initiative that is starting up at UMCA. He advised that the teachers working on converting unripe mango, potato, and dung to power should work with Engr Femi Akeredolu, in charge of IITA biogas, to build capacity and have access to IITA facilities for better production and sustainability.
The teachers, principals, and community members were excited about the new development, primarily because of its benefits to the schools and communities. They appreciated the DG and Governor Seyi Makinde for their efforts in adding value to these communities.