The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, and the Oyo State government, have launched a programme tagged: ‘’Start Them Early Programme” (STEP) for secondary school students in the state. The inauguration of the STEP Agri-business training facility for youths was held at Fasola Grammar School, Ibadan, Oyo State.
Speaking at the event, Dr Christus Akem, the IITA Coordinator of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation, (TAAT) said the programme was to introduce agri-business training in secondary schools in Oyo state. Also, IITA has collaborated with Bayer industries to launch a breeding project to improve African food crops. Akem said that the aim was to make the youths multi-millionaires through agri-business.
He then announced the donation of 100 kilograms of agro products used to control aflatoxins on maize, on behalf of IITA to the state government, as well as two tonnes of high-quality maize seeds. He promised that IITA would provide two additional security officers to guard the new facilities and appealed to the state government to ensure that the place enjoyed adequate continous security. Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State said that the project, starting from the Fasola Grammar School, would be extended to other zones of the state.
Makinde described the programme as a wake-up call for stakeholders to steer the interest of youths towards agriculture and to change their views about farming. The governor said that the government had invested in many agricultural value chains and remained steadfast on how to improve the state’s economy through agri-business. He commended IITA for its contribution to the development of agriculture and the state at large, hoping that the partnership would yield more positive results. New Nigeria News