In a bid to build an economic trust on the trending agricultural transformation across Delta state, the Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa’s led administration, through its Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) under the SMART agenda has intensified efforts to make the state a rice and fish marketing hub for economic growth.
The state government has trained a total of seven hundred and eighty two (782) unemployed youths in various agricultural skills particularly in poultry, piggery, fishery and crop production across the State.
The Chief Job creation officer, Prof. Eric Eboh who disclosed this during a media tour to YAGEP farm clusters at Deghele, Ugbokode-Okpe and ADP Ibusa said the training cut across graduates, school leavers and persons with disabilities.
According to Prof. Eboh, youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) is an integral element of twin strategy to solve youth unemployment and transform agricultural value chains in the state.
While saying that the State has established a total of 25 farm enterprise clusters, as owners and managers across the State, Prof. Eboh explained that these farm enterprise clusters are vital for; sustaining youth interest in Agriculture, demonstrating improved Agricultural technologies and practices and promoting enterprise viability as well as ensuring high levels of agricultural productivity and sustainability.
He pointed out that the Government of Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa was succeeding in using agricultural value chain to affect the lives of Deltans as the cluster model is yielding desired impacts in transforming the agricultural landscape and agricultural prosperity in the state.
At Deghele YAGEP rice farm cluster that was established in 2018 in Sapele Local Government Area, the chief job creation officer, Prof. Eboh disclosed that the YAGEP rice farm occupied an expanse of forty-two hectares of land.
While conducting the media team round the farm where harvesting and threshing of rice was taking place by the 21 YAGEPreneurs trained in rice production, Prof. Eboh noted that there is room for expansion in subsequent cycles.
He charged the beneficiaries to remain dedicated to ensure that they come out as successful trainees.
At Ugbokodo-Okpe YAGEP fish cluster in Okpe Local Government Area, Prof. Ebo who took journalists round the two hundred and forty-four ponds said that the Ugbokodo YAGEP fish farm cluster is the largest cluster in the state.
While assuring them of Government assistance, Prof. Eboh who advised the YAGEP trainee to live in peace with the host community said the fish ponds were established with one hundred and fifty-four ponds last year with addition of extra ninety ponds this year.
Speaking to the journalist in an interview during the visit, Mr. Victor Ukereti and Baya Gbayafabor, both beneficiary of YAGEP programme commended the state for evolving the laudable agricultural programme in the state.
They called on youths in the state to embrace the various developmental effort of the State Government and also appealed to the State Government to extend the training to other youths.
At Ugbokodo-Okpe, apart from the previous 77 YAGEPreneurs, there is an additional 45 YAGEPreneurs with 90 fish ponds and other components of their starter packs. The ponds are made of Chikoko technology, built in the mangrove swamp and the tree stumps used as protective fence for the fish ponds.
At the ADP-Ibusa, 27 fish farmers were given 3 in-door tarpaulin tanks each, 145 bags of fish feeds of various sizes in tranches, 2000 juveniles, 15,000 naira stipends for 9 months among other facilities.