By Kasarachi Azuka, Asaba
Some of the economic growth points of the economy of Delta State may come from the entrepreneurial programmes started few years ago in the first term of the present governor of the state.
Delta State Youth Agricultural Entreprenuers (YAGEP) has significantly contributed to agricultural outputs and overall growth of the agricultural sector of the state, said Eric Eboh, the state’s chief job and wealth creation officer.
Eboh, a professor, made the disclosure during the recent orientation and farm enterprise training (OFET) workshop organized for 2020/2021 crop production beneficiaries of the programme, by the job and wealth creation bureau.
He said, “estimates show that, from 2015-2020, YAGEP beneficiaries have produced 1,689.87 metric tonnes of poultry, 61,358,690 eggs and 4,977.98 metric tonnes of fish”.
Eboh added that YAGEP outputs included1,706.91 metric tonnes of pig, 1,109.23 metric tonnes of casava roots, 1,339.58 metric tonnes of grains, 477.70 metric tonnes of plantain and 1,753.87 metric tonnes of vegetables namely tomatoes, watermelon and cucumber.
Recent survey shows that the success rate among YAGEP beneficiaries averages about 71% across the various agricultural enterprises, he said.
Eboh moreover disclosed the the development of farm enterprise clusters, owned and managed by the youths, is transforming the state’s agricultural landscape and having a demonstration effect on agricultural modernization.
Currently, there are a total of 25 YAGEP farm enterprise clusters with varying combinations of enterprises including poultry, piggery, fishery, rice and tomato production.
The cluster model of youth agricultural employment has restored previously idle agricultural resources to economic use and boosted agricultural productivity and wealth generation in the state, he said.
YAGEP is one of the flagship job and wealth creation programmes of the state governor, IIfeanyi Okowa which commenced in 2015.
YAGEP is aimed at creating jobs and wealth by training, establishing and supporting youths to become agricultural entrepreneurs who are gainfully self-employed and employers of labour.
“From the pilot scheme in 2015 (2015/2016) to the fifth cycle (2019/2020), a total of,1,174 YAGEP beneficiaries have been trained, established and supported in various agricultural enterprises including poultry, crop production, piggery, fish production, agro-processing and agribusiness, adding that the 2020/2021 cycle is the sixth consecutive run of the programme.
Over the period, the largest majority (47%) of YAGEP beneficiaries from 2015-2020 engaged in fish production, followed by poultry (25%), crop production (23%) and piggery (4%). The beneficiaries comprise males (72%) and females (28%), he revealed, adding that more than a third of YAGEP beneficiaries are graduates with bachelor’s degree of higher national diploma.
He informed that the 2020/2021 cycle is the sixth consecutive run of the programme and covers 400 youths.