As part of its effort to contribute to the development of agriculture, Chevron Nigeria Limited, through the Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND) has launched Youths Cassava Enterprise Project with 40 graduates to pilot the scheme in Ondo state.
The project which is in partnership with the states Wealth Creation Agency (WECA) was inaugurated at the Ondo state Agric Village, Ore in Odigbo local government area of the state.
Speaking during the inauguration, the Director, Deepwater and Production Sharing Contracts of Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited, Jeffery Ewing said the project is one of the economic empowerment programmer of the Organisation designed to develop and encourage youths participation in agriculture.
Ewing who was represented by the Area Manager, Policy Government and Public Affairs ( PGPA), Esimaje Brikiun, said the programme was aimed to make Agriculture and farming attractive to Nigerian youths and make it a career and a business.
He said “We believe the cassava project will have a tremendous impact on the youths in Ondo state through employment creation, poverty reduction, skill acquisition and livelihood improvement.
He said the project will go a long way to support the development of local cottage industries and to ensure the growth of local industries.
“This will no doubt boost the governments efforts in making agriculture a significant revenue yielding sector in the country.
We believe the Cassava project will have a tremendous impact on the youths in Ondo state through employment creation, poverty reduction, skill acquisition and livelihood improvement as well as support the development of rural – based cottage industries to ensure the growth of the local economy.”
The Chevron boss disclosed that the oil company has also sponsored agro based economic empowerment development projects in some states which include Imo, Katsina and Niger states.
The program Director of PIND, Dr Dara Akala said the 40 youths were selected to pilot the project in the state saying the youths are meant to become a new class of farmers because “our farmers are aging, hence the need to replace them with professionals.”
The state governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, while launching the project reiterated the commitment of his administration towards the development of agriculture and tackle youths unemployment through various agricultural initiatives have attracted the interest of a lot of private organisation to partner with the state.
Mimiko, who was represented by the state commissioner for Agriculture, Chief Segun Ayerin said that the economic recession has given more reason to engage more youths in agriculture.
Chairman of WECA, Bolanle Olafunmiloye said that the agency was established to develop a new crop of young farmers and entrepreneurs that will use agriculture as a tool for wealth creation and solve the problem of unemployment.