Beneficiaries of the on-going empowerment for 2016 Cycle of the Delta State Government’s Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) have been charged to take full advantage of the opportunity provided by the State Government to become successful entrepreneurs and employers of labour.
The State Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, gave the charge during the allotment of Tomato Cluster to YAGEPreneurs who recently completed a three month training/internship in Crop Production at Songhai Delta, Amukpe.
The YAGEPreneurs who were 24 in number received 2000sq.m plot of land each and other components of their starter packs and were commissioned to immediately commence tomato cultivation using Jain Drip irrigation System to encourage all year round farming.
Allocating the crop cluster to them at Amukpe in Sapele Local Government Area, Governor Okowa enjoined them to work hard so as to enjoy a successful and viable enterprise in the agricultural sector, saying “we want to see YAGEP tomato, we want to see YAGEP rice and we want to see YAGEP fish flood the market.”
The State Governor represented by the State Chief Job Creation Officer, Prof Eric Eboh, recalled that the on-going establishment of the 3-month YAGEPreneurs and STEPreneurs in the 2016 Cycle has taken off smoothly with 77 persons established in fish production in 154 ponds at Ugbokodo in Okpe Local Government Area; another 64 YAGEPreneurs in 138 ponds at Egbokodo-Itsekiri in Warri South Local Government Area; 29 setup to practise irrigated tomatoes cultivation at Ogwashi-Uku and Mbiri while 54 STEPreneurs have received their starter packs to begin their enterprises in Audio-Visual Technology.
He advised them to put into maximum use the knowledge and experience, acquired during the 3 months training/internship period at different internship centres across the state, to promote sustainable agriculture, adding that they were trained to practice science based, knowledge driven and profit oriented agriculture.
He listed other items in the starter packs to include farm inputs such as improved seeds of COBRA Variety, development of water sources (borehole), water storage, water supply, water distribution facilities and installation of irrigation drip kits.
Other inputs were development of nurseries for seedlings; support for transplanting of seedlings; agro-chemicals such as fungicides, pesticides and herbicides; fertilizer; a monthly stipend for six (6) months and a micro credit component repayable within a year after six (6) months moratorium.
He assured them that the Job Creation Resource Persons, Dr Theophilus Okpidi and Hon Paul Okpue together with SYNGENTA Company would assist them throughout the production cycle by way of technical support, mentoring and capacity building on crop and soil management.
While congratulating them for the opportunity to be located opposite Songhai Delta, Amukpe, where some of them were trained, he advised them to take advantage of the fertile soil and accessibility of the cluster to excel.
He also advised them to form cooperative groups while the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer offers assistance by registering them with Ministry of Commerce and Industry to enable them to benefit from Governments’ micro credit facilities and grants.
In their separate remarks, the Senior Special Assistance to the Governor on Agriculture, Hon Julius Egbedi, the Managing Director of Songhai Delta, Amukpe, Dr Theophilus Okpidi and a Job Creation Resource Person, Hon Paul Okpe urged them to be disciplined, diligent and timely in practice, adding that their success is determined by the efforts put into their enterprises.
They enjoined them to make good use of the 100% package provided by the State Government to work as agricultural vanguard to eradicate recession and food insecurity and to make Delta State a hub of prosperity.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Patrick Adogho and Racheal Amariabure of Isoko South and Ughelli North Local Government Areas respectively expressed their gratitude to the State Government for using its job creation scheme to tackle unemployment and restiveness among youths.
They promised to work hard to become financially independent and employers of labour.