By Mercy Azuka, Asaba
In order to solve the problem of youth unemployment and transform agricultural value chain in the state, Delta State government has trained a total of 782 unemployed youths in various agricultural skills since the past three years.
The youths have also been fully equipped as over 25 farm enterprise clusters were established for them across the various local government areas of the state by the state government.
This has raised the status of the previously jobless youths to that of enterprise owners and managers, a feat seen as transforming the agricultural landscape of the state.
The youths who are made up of unemployed graduates, school leavers and persons with disabilities acquired the training under the Youths Agricultural Entrepreurs Programme (YAGEP) of the job creation of the state.
The Chief Job Creation Officer of the state, Prof Eric Eboh, while briefing newsmen in Asaba, Tuesday, mentioned the various agricultural skills in which the youths were trained as: poultry, piggery, fishery and crop production.
He explained that the farm enterprise is the first of its kind in the state and noted that the cluster would help in sustaining the youths’ interest in agriculture, enhance youths’ interest in agricultural technology and practice, promote enterprise viability, as well as ensure high levels of agricultural productivity and sustainability.
“Since inception, the Gov Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration has been implementing job creation for the youths through YAGEP under the SMART agenda. The YAGEP is an integral element of the twin strategy to solve youth unemployment and transform agricultural value chains in the state”, he said.
“The approach is to train youths in agricultural skills, personal effectiveness and life skills, entrepreneurship and business management skills, establish and mentor them in farm enterprise clusters”, Eboh explained.
According to Eboh, “Evidence from the farm enterprise clusters and feedback from stakeholders showed that the cluster model was yielding desired impacts. These youth-managed farm enterprise clusters are transforming the agricultural landcape of the state”.
He added that the farm enterprise clusters are functioning as agricultural growth poles, icons of sustainable youth employment and drivers of agricultural prosperity in the state.