Ekiti Govt Establishes Agricultural Hub in Ado-Ekiti

The Ekiti State Government has established an agricultural hub at Erifun along Afe Babalola University/Federal Polytechnic road in Ado-Ekiti where interested youths can be trained and empowered to become self-reliant and possible employers of labour.

The State Commissioner for Information, Rt. Hon. Taiwo Olatunbosun, who made this known during a tour of the facilities at the Livestock Development Center site of the farm settlement, said that the development was brought to fruition in partnership with various non-governmental organizations and notable foundations, including the Master Card Foundation and Syngenta Foundation.

Reiterating the commitment of the administration of Governor Biodun Oyebanji to the welfare of residents, particularly the youths, Rt. Hon. Olatunbosun explained that the scheme was strategically planned to provide young, educated farmers with a comfortable standard of living and partly solve the problem of unemployment.

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr. Ebenezer Boluwade, said that over sixty graduate trainees were currently undergoing physical activities at the center, adding that 37 of the trainees were under the Ekiti Broilers Production Scheme while the remaining 25 trainees under the Ekiti Youth in Urban Farming were into vegetable production and horticulture.

Stressing that the state agricultural assets were being optimized to guarantee food security while expanding economic opportunities, Mr. Boluwade pledged that the state government would not only provide land for participants, but would help facilitate grants and loans for a successful take-off.

According to him, only five hectares had been cleared out of the almost 200 hectares available land for the pilot scheme.

Boluwade said that the facility could boast of a dam that would ensure availability of water and guarantee all-year round crop production, adding that the Master Card Foundation assisted with the training of the 25 youths in Urban Farming under a Training of Trainers (ToT) model.

Assuring of ready market for produce from the farms, Boluwade said the first batch of 9,000 broilers harvested after 6 weeks and weighing an average of 2.5kg were immediately carted away in a trailer by already arranged waiting buyer, adding that the 10,000 chicks currently in the pens already had buyers waiting to take them without the trainees going through the stress of looking for buyers.

The commissioner also said that the state government had almost finished the renovation of five buildings in the facility that could conveniently accommodate 40 trainees and workers when necessary.

He promised that the programme would be extended to accommodate as many youths as possible in the state, adding that there was already arrangement on ground for the possibility of starting the scheme in Ikere-Ekiti.

Two of the participants, Miss Abosede Olayemi and Mr. Olasunkanmi Olonitola lauded the state government for the initiative and promised to judiciously utilize the knowledge they acquired during the training.

They advised youths in the state to take advantage of the availability of the programme to empower themselves, warning, however, that participants must be interested, hardworking and passionate to succeed.