Delta State Government through its Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) has trained and established a total of seven hundred and eighty two (782) unemployed youths in various agricultural skills particularly in poultry, piggery, fishery and crop production across the state.
The Chief Job Creation Officer, Prof. Eric Eboh, disclosed this during a media tour to YAGEP Farm Clusters at Deghele, Ugbokode-Okpe and ADP, which he said the essence was to show the extent Governor Okowa’s administration was succeeding in using the job creation scheme to empower Delta youths, noting that the programme had run for three cycles and about to commence the fourth one.
According to Prof. Eboh, YAGEP is an integral element of twin strategy to solve youth unemployment and transform agricultural value chains in the state, pointing out that the training cuts across graduates, school leavers and persons with disabilities.
He said that the state has established a total of 25 farm enterprise clusters with the YAGEPreneurs as owners and managers of the enterprises across the state.
Prof. Eboh explained that these farm enterprises and clusters are vital for sustaining youth interest in agriculture and demonstrating improved agricultural technologies and practices and promoting enterprise viability as well as ensuring high levels of agricultural productivity and sustainability in the state.
He pointed out that the government of Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa was succeeding in its use of agricultural value chain to affect the lives of Deltans as the cluster model is yielding desired impacts in transforming the agricultural landscape and agricultural prosperity in the state.
At Deghele YAGEP Rice Farm Cluster which was established in 2018 in Sapele Local Government Area, the Chief Job Creation Officer, Prof. Eboh disclosed that the YAGEP rice farm occupied an expanse of forty-two hectares of land allocated to 21 YAGEPreneurs trained in Rice Production.
While conducting the media team round the farm where harvesting and threshing of rice were taking place by the YAGEPreneurs, he explained thus, “Delta YAGEP Rice will be launched very soon by His Excellency, the Governor. The YAGEPreneurs will be in Asaba to present the YAGEP rice to him. Delta State will soon join the league of rice producing states in the country with the 21 rice YAGEPreneurs at Deghele and another 27 at Mbiri in Sapele LGA and Ika North East LGA respectively.”
The YAGEP Officer at the cluster, Mr. Edoja Okeh, who spoke to our reporter said the harvest was still on-going, expressing hope of a bountiful harvest, “Out of the 42 hectares of rice farm in Deghele YAGEP Rice Cluster, only 6 hectares have been harvested with 100 bags of paddy rice awaiting winnowing, describing the cycle as successful.”
At Ugbokodo-Okpe YAGEP fish cluster in Okpe Local Government Area, Prof. Eboh also took journalists round the 244 fish ponds. He described Ugbokodo YAGEP Fish Farm Cluster as the largest fish cluster in the state.
While assuring them of government assistance at all times, he advised the YAGEPreneurs to live in peace with their host community, noting that the fish ponds were established with 154 fish ponds last year with an additional 90 ponds this year for a total of 122 YAGEPreneurs trained in Fish Production.
Speaking to the journalist in an interview during the visit, Mr. Victor Ukereti and Baya Gbayafabor, beneficiaries of the YAGEP programme commended the state for evolving such a laudable agricultural programme in the state. They called on youths to embrace the various developmental efforts of the state government and appealed that the programme be sustained in order to extend the training to other youths in the state.
In continuation of the media tour to the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) in Oshimili North Local Government Area, the media team were also conducted round the 81 in-door tarpaulin fish tanks allocated to 27 YAGEPreneurs engaged in the 2017/2018 cycle.
Each YAGEPreneur in Fish Production was given 3 in-door tarpaulin fish tanks, 145 sbags of fish feeds of various sizes in tranches, 2000 juveniles,
N15, 000 naira stipend for 9 months among other facilities.