OYSADA DG has stated reasons why Oyo state is raising the bar in creating opportunities through ‘STEP’.
9Janewshub.com.ng reports that Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has been commended for his commitments towards turning the state into agricultural hub with countless opportunities for residents and citizens of the state.
There is no doubt that Oyo State is truly a pace setter for others as the Start Them Early Program(STEP) has become a model for others state in the country and beyond.
***Dr. Debo Akande OYSADA DG…
STEP -Oyo project, according to Dr. Debo Akande the Head of Agribusiness for Sub Shara Africa at IITA is a partnership project between the Oyo State Government and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
He described it as a solution to developing young minds towards agribusiness.
Akande also noted that STEP is a youth program initiated by IITA aimed at advancing agribusiness development in secondary schools in Africa, with initial operations of the program implemented in three countries such as DR Congo, Kenya, and Nigeria in 2019.
In Nigeria, STEP has been implemented in five States, Oyo, Osun, Kaduna, Kano and Lagos, Dr. Akande noted that the program first started in Oyo before its expansion to other states, stressing that the program is aiming at reinforcing agricultural classroom training by introducing modern agricultural technologies offered in schools through experiential learning.
He maintained that the program uses learner centered method to empower student with relevant agribusiness skills.
With the success recorded in the first phase of STEP, it targeted cluster areas such as Fasola Grammar School, Bishop Philips Academy, Methodist High School, Christ High School Oleyo, Adegun Asake Grammar t, Iresaadu High School, Iresaadu, UMCA Secondary Grammar School Igbeti, Governor Makinde has approved the extention of the program which is to cover six schools across 6 Federal constituencies not captured in the first batch.
Dr. Akande who doubles as the Director General for Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA) in his recent engagement with 9Janewshub.com.ng commended Governor Seyi Makinde for providing enabling environment for agribusiness to thrive in the state.
He said: “in this era of technology innovation, agribusiness has moved from the old traditional of practice to technological ways of doing things, so good governance is beyond providing seedlings for the farmers, it’s all about providing infrastructure for the farmers and that is what exactly Governor Seyi Makinde is currently doing in the state and this has not only attracted more Investors into the state, it has also boosted the socio-economic values of the state.”
“The investors are thriving in their businesses because the Governor has provided enabling environment through provisions of structural and functional system needed in aiding productivity of any Investor.”
“For instance Governor’s choice of celebrating Christmas at Oke Ogun area of the state is because he always wanted to see how those Investors are doing on their farms as well inspect all the state government investment in agribusiness.”
“He has provided access roads to meet the needs of some agribusiness Investors in Oke Ogun, he has also provided transformers to meet the yearnings of some farmers in Fashola farm settlement to aide productivity, all our farm settlements in Oke Ogun axis of the state are now enjoying infrastructures which has help in ease of doing business.”
Speaking on effectiveness of the program, Akande said, the program has triggered the number of students in Fasola Grammar School from 0% to 77%, with number of agricultural entreprise club crop and mechanisation; greenhouse; livestock; value addition and ICT from 1% to 5.”
“The program has increased the knowledge of agricultural tools from 29.2 to 72.7, with the students knowledge in agribusiness from 40.1% to 70.7%, while students perception towards agriculture has risen from 39.8 to 81.3%, students interest in agriculture has equally risen from 43.7 to 88.2% with students knowledge on ICT risen from 35.7 to 72%.”
Akande noted also that the program will not only provide job opportunities for the youths, it will also expand their knowledge in Information technology and how to make use of tech innovative in solving agribusiness challenges,
He noted that those students are currently doing well in their various schools, hinting that they have also formed cluster groups in their various homes and are providing poultry and vegetables to their immediate environment.