Food production received a boost in the state, as farmers received N60m from the Federal Government, under its incubator/incubatee model programme.
State IFAD/LIFE-ND Project Manager, Adewale Ademola, who made this public at the disbursement of the fund to young farmers in Akure, explained that the fund is aimed at assisting the incubatee (farmers) take off on a proper footing after completion of six months tutelage under established incubators (farmers).
He disclosed that the programme was being funded by the Federal Government, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), as well as other donors and the state government.
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, and the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises-Niger Delta, LIFE-ND, disbursed the funds on behalf of the Federal Government.
The State Coordinator said governor Rotimi Akeredolu had demonstrated his unflinching faith to the success of the programme, by being the first governor among the participating states to pay the compulsory counterpart fund.
According to him, the programme has been tailored toward youths generally with more focus on women. ” The incubatees have understudied incubators for six months on agro businesses such as poultry, fishing, cassava and cocoa, where we have comparative advantage. The youths are the target from 18 to 35 for men, with the women age bracket fixed at above 40. The incubators are the mentors of the incubatees, who are expected to be overseen by the incubators “.
Ademola urged beneficiaries to use the fund judiciously to enable it run smoothly to cover the 4,250 youths expected to benefit from it in the first six years.
Special Assistant to the Governor on Youth and Student Affairs, Muyiwa Ogunremi , said that the programme had come at the right time to complement the second term agenda of the governor.
He said that agriculture was a major component of the agenda of the present administration, as it pertains to youth and women empowerment particularly in the rural areas, adding that the working capital would go a long way in improving food production and supply in the state.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Sunday Akintomide, who commended the programme, praised the governor for supporting the programme.
He said that Akeredolu’s administration would continue to promote a system that would change the face of agriculture in Ondo State.
“I am thrilled to see that our governor is determined to make people change and embrace agriculture as a business.
“Similarly, this can only take place with availability of credit windows, which he has faith in and he is supporting morally and financially.
“When we absorb and practice agriculture through this method, it will bring about improvement in the production of food in large quantities,’’ he said.
The Permanent Secretary charged the incubatees to work according to the leading of their uncubators, stressing that such move would help them avoid errors and wastages.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this is the second disbursement under the scheme, as N20 million had been disbursed to 20 youths on June 2.