In line with the vision of the State Government to support youth farmers to expand their agricultural enterprises, become employers of labour and to boost food security, the Delta State Job and Wealth Creation Bureau has given farm inputs to YAGEP beneficiaries in Crop Production.


The beneficiaries of the farm input included all youth farmers enrolled in Crop Production under the 2020/2021 Cycle of the State Government’s Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP.)

Addressing the beneficiaries, the Chief Job and Wealth Creation Officer of the bureau, Prof Eric Eboh, said the support package was in line with the vision of the State government to offer training, create jobs and wealth, and to support youths to become successful and gainfully self-employed entrepreneurs.

“Yesterday, you were participants at the Orientation and Farm Enterprise Training organized for you by the bureau. Today, the farm enterprise training workshop is being followed with provision of support packages to you. Depending on the type of farm enterprise, the support package includes critical production inputs such as fertilizer, crop agrochemicals, and cash for land preparation, seedlings, weeding and harvesting,” he remarked.

He assured them that they would be exposed to and tutored in best agricultural practices in farm enterprise management, innovative production technologies and profitable agribusiness throughout the production cycle.

On his part, the YAGEP Programme Supervisor, Mr Sam Ndikanwu, advised the beneficiaries on the proper methods of application of the farm inputs such as the fertilizers and agro-chemicals.

He pointed out that they were receiving the first tranche of input comprising five to 12 bags of fertilizers such as NPK 15:15:15; Urea; Mariate of Potash and Single Super Phosphate and Pre-Emergence and Post-Emergence Agro-chemicals each based on their agricultural enterprise.

While emphasizing that 30 beneficiaries in Asaba and its environs were receiving the inputs in Asaba, he said other beneficiaries would receive theirs in centers nearest to them either in Agbor, Kwale, Ughelli or in Warri Centers. 

According to him, “The Brown YAGEPreneurs are not freshers; they are used to application of agro-chemicals and have received adequate training on the application of these fertilizers. Agriculture is time specific, hence we are giving out these inputs during the raining season. Our crops are rain feed and this is the planting season. We are doing this now to get good yield in order to boost food security in the state.”

Onwudike Stephen (Oshimili North LGA) in Plantain Production while expressing gratitude to the State Government for the kind gesture, said he received 14 bags of fertilizers and 5 agro-chemicals to be followed by a cash component as his support package.

“These will help me to expand my farm enterprise, boost my production capacity and to engage more youths to work with me. I advise youths to go into agriculture because agriculture is key to food security, employment and national development” he enthused.

Also, Uwadia Stephanie (Ndokwa West LGA) in Cassava Production affirmed that the orientation and training coupled with the support package by the bureau had improved her mentality about farming, adding that she was motivated to improve her farming technique.

By Gertrude Onyekachukwu-Uteh

The first series of capacity building workshop on institutional development for senior management staff of the Delta State Job and Wealth Creation Bureau has ended with a call on participants to align themselves with the mandate of the newly created bureau.

 

The Chief Job and Wealth Creation Officer, Prof Eric Eboh, made the call while making his closing remark during the last day of the first series of the capacity building workshop held in the Conference Hall of the bureau in Asaba.

 

Prof Eric said the workshop was planned to set the right foundation for a vibrant institution, urging the staff to realign themselves with the mandate of the newly created job and wealth creation bureau.

 

He explained that putting strategic plan in motion would leave a legacy for him and the organization even after the end of the present administration. According to him, “It will not be complimentary for this organization as an establishment to exist in the next two years without a strategic plan. For me, as the head of the organization, that is one important legacy having had the law passed, signed and gazetted, we need a strategic plan which will incorporate all, whether it is resource mobilization, performance or institutional, giving the roadmap which is the compass for this organization. I am trying to set our minds that this is just the beginning for this whole process. We are in for a legacy journey. I will be very happy when I leave as the Chief Job and Wealth Creation Office, I will be at peace and highly fulfilled as a professional handing over this legacy document for the organization to whoever takes over from me.”

 

Going down the memory lane, he recounted that the office was first established as the Office of the Chief Job and Wealth Creation Officer, but was institutionalized and became the Delta State Job and Wealth Creation Bureau.

 

“It began with three flagship programmes namely the Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP); the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP); Graduate Employment Enhancement Programme (GEEP.) We are implementing our sixth cycle with over 5,000 youths trained and established in the past five years,” he added. 

 

He maintained that stakeholders’ interest in the institutionalization of the bureau gave rise to an executive bill which was sent to the Delta State House of Assembly, passed and consequently assented to by the Government on the 5th of September, 2019.  

 

While pointing out that the bureau is fulfilling its mandate of designing, planning and executing job and wealth creation programmes; he emphasized that the capacity building workshop would help to leave a lasting institutional legacy in the bureau years to come.

 

He listed the topics taken so far in the extended capacity workshops as Strategic planning and Project Management Culture; Customer Service and Service Delivery; Leadership and Teamwork, and Performance Measurement.

 

A Development Programme Specialist and the Resource Person, Mr. Emmanuel Uche in his lecture entitled, “Performance Measurement” commended the Chief Job and Wealth Creation Officer, for the success recorded in the programme, saying, “The Transformation that has taken place in the bureau shows a drum of hard work. The stories of the success rates as being widely told are indicators that other states would likely replicate the job creation model soon.” 

By Gertrude Onyekachukwu-Uteh

 

The Delta State Job and Wealth Creation Bureau has commenced its Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) with OFET for already existing youth farmers in Crop Production.


 Addressing the 158 YAGEP beneficiaries in Crop Production at Unity Hall, Government House, venue of the Orientation Training, the Chief Job and Wealth Creation Officer, Prof Eric Eboh, pointed  out that YAGEP was aimed at creating jobs and wealth by training, establishing and supporting youths to become agricultural entrepreneurs who would because gainfully self-employed and employers of labour.

He explained that the Orientation and Farm Enterprise Training (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, farm records and accounts, managing risks and uncertainties in agricultural production and agricultural insurance by Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation.

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.

He disclosed that YAGEP has run five successful cycles with a total of number of 1,174 YAGEP beneficiaries who were trained, established and supported in various agricultural enterprises including poultry, crop production, piggery, fish production, agro-processing and agribusiness, from 2015 to 2020, adding that YAGEP is in its sixth cycle and that 400 beneficiaries would be enrolled in Fish Production, Poultry, Piggery and Crop Production out of which only 158 of them in Crop Production were present for the first batch of OFET.

“The 2020-2021 cycle is the 6th consecutive run of the programme. Specifically, it will cover a total of 400 youth agricultural entrepreneurs in the Brown YAGEP category. The programme commences with Orientation and Farm Enterprise Training (OFET) for 2020/2021 Brown YAGEP beneficiaries (1st Batch) holding today 25th of May 2021. The enterprises covered in the 2020-2021 programme cycle are poultry, piggery, fish production and cultivation of arable crops including cassava, yam, maize, rice, tomato, okra, watermelon, pumpkin and plantain,” he recounted.

He said the farm enterprise training workshop would be followed with provision of support packages to the beneficiaries such as fertilizer; animal feeds; crop agrochemicals; livestock vaccination; cash to pay for critical farm labour in land preparation; weeding; animal husbandry and harvesting; innovative production technologies and profitable agribusiness depending on the type of farm enterprise. 

On the success rate of YAGEP, he remarked, “YAGEP is contributing significantly to agricultural outputs and overall growth of the agricultural sector in Delta State. Estimates show that, from 2015-2020, YAGEP beneficiaries have produced 1,689.87 metric tonnes of poultry, 61,358,690 eggs and 4,977.98 metric tonnes of fish. In addition, YAGEP outputs include 1,706.91 metric tonnes of pig, 1,109.23 metric tonnes of casava roots, 1,339.58 metric tonnes of grains, 477.70 metric tonnes of plantain and 1,753.87 metric tonnes of vegetables namely tomatoes, watermelon and cucumber. Recent survey shows that the success rate among YAGEP beneficiaries averages about 71% across the various agricultural enterprises.”

On his part, the Executive Assistant to the Governor on Youth Monitoring and Mentoring, Mr. Edward Mekwunye, admonished the beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity given them by the State Government to become great entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector.

He emphasized that the State Government has made lots of investments in the programme, enjoining them to work hard to ensure that the success recorded in the programme is sustained, assuring them that the Directorate of Youth Monitoring and Mentoring would continue to monitor and mentor them.

Speaking separately, Omenogor Azuka (Ndokwa East) in Plantain Farming and Abiaka Henry (Ethiope East) in Cassava Production appreciated the State Government for the initiative. They said they were hopeful that the support package would help them to expand their farm enterprises from levels of subsistence to commercial farming.

Present at the event were the Senior Special Assistants to the Governor on Job and Wealth Creation Messers Jerry Ossai; Prince Charles Abutoh; Emmanuel Osazuwa and Frank Ebikefe and the Resource Persons, Mr Francis Aninye and Miss Emmanuella Clinton.  

By Gertrude Onyekachukwu-Uteh

Ifeyinwa Afakwu is the CEO of Sparkling International Cosmetics located in Asaba. She is a Brown STEP beneficiary in the 2018/2019 Cycle. She obtained an OND in Public Health from the School of Health Technology, Ufuoma, but was jobless for five years after graduation. Though she had previous knowledge on how to produce laundry and cleaning agents as well as cosmetics from a company, she could not start a business because of lack of funds.  

Ifeyinwa’s enrolment in the Delta State Government’s Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) changed her story. Trained in the Production of Cleaning Agents, she has distinguished herself with 16 branded products to her credit and is close to completing certification of her products with NAFDAC barely two years after establishment with starter pack. She is a manufacturer, an employer and a trainer. 

Hear her success story, “Help came through the job creation bureau when I couldn’t help myself. I was established with a generator, an automated mixer for soap, a double boiler method for cream, a mini mixer for cream, a measuring scale, a set of blender, a heat gum, a sealing machine, an industrial thermometer, an oven for drying of organic products, a mould cutter for cutting bar soup, a big mixing bowl, a mini water drum, three buckets and ₦55,000 for shop rent subsidy and transport fare. I have been able to put them into good use as you can see from my products.

“At present, I have 16 beauty and cleaning agent products branded in my business name in the market. NAFDAC has given me freedom to start processing my products and I am working hard to meet the required standard. I have acquired more equipment, rented a big place for production and an outlet for sale of my products. I have four trainees and two employees on my payroll. 

“Some of the products are in high demand and I have exported to Libya. They have been used widely in Abuja, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Kaduna and here in Asaba. Thanks to Governor Okowa for making me a manufacturer, a producer and a CEO of a company which I never thought I could become.”

  By Gertrude Onyekachukwu-Uteh.

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