The Oyo State governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Thursday, declared that his administration has set up the state for a massive turnaround in agribusiness, adding that the state was ready to absorb anyone who is ready to invest in large scale agriculture practices and agribusiness.
The governor, who stated this while inaugurating the Start Them Early Programme (STEP), an initiative of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) aimed at promoting interest in Agriculture among secondary school students in Oyo State, added that the programme will be replicated by the state government in all zones of the state.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the governor, who launched the programme at the Fasola Grammar School, Oyo, expressed pleasure with the initiative, saying “This project is a product of the type of innovative thinking that ensures that young people learn agribusiness in theory and practice right from secondary school.”
He said: “I am pleased to be at this launch of the Start Them Early Programme (STEP).
According to Governor Makinde, the introduction of an initiative like STEP, which intends to catch the next generation young in terms of agriculture, is a step in the right direction, adding that it sits well with the focus of his administration to explore agriculture and agriculture value chain to expand the state’s economy.
The governor also used the occasion to thank the IITA for its support for the government as well as the laudable STEP project.
The governor added that his administration would review the state’s 2020 budget to facilitate the possible take-off of the STEP programme in parts of the state within the remaining months of the year.
In his address, the Director-General of IITA, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, told the gathering that the facility in Fasola will be used to engage a selected number of students and teachers who will be trained on modern agricultural technologies and production.
Dr. Sanginga, in an address delivered on his behalf by Dr. Chrysantus Akem, the Coordinator, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation Program (TAAT) of the IITA, enjoined the Oyo State government to judiciously utilise the multi-million Naira project for the resuscitation of the state’s agribusiness.