Agriculture has been described as a veritable means of ending the current economic recession in the country.
The Special Adviser to the Executive Governor of Kwara State on Agriculture and Rural Water Support Services, Otunba Anu Ibiwoye stated this at the symposium organised by the Kwara Youth Action for Development to mark the 55th birthday anniversary of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday at Kwara Hotels, Ilorin.
Ibiwoye said Agriculture can no longer be regarded as a way of life for the uneducated, peasant and rural farmers, but a profitable venture for unemployed graduates, entrepreneurs and governments.
The symposium titled, ‘Saraki Agricultural Youth Empowerment Programme, Enhancing the Youth Capacity in Agriculture’ was attended by various youth groups and stakeholders in agriculture including the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hon Bamidele Adegoke, Senior Special Assistant on Youth Employment, Hon Saka Babatunde,Chief Executive Officer, MSME, Segun Soewu, former Irepodun TIC chairman, Hon. Kazeem Adekanye and other dignitaries.
The Special Adviser on Agriculture reiterated the need for our teeming youths to embrace modern agriculture which has expanded beyond subsistence level.
He said, “Today, agriculture requires mechanisation, improved technology, research and new techniques, which now reduces drudgery and makes agriculture more attractive, profitable and viable.”
In his keynote address, Hon Adegoke spoke on the proposed Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) of the Federal Government (through the CBN) which is specifically designed for youths and women between the ages of 18 and 35.
He said scheme when finally approved will enable about 10,000 youth and women have access to agricultural loan at single digit interest rate (9%).
He however highlighted the conditions for the disbursement of the loan to include; registration with Kwara Agro mall, possession of a Bank Verification Number, BVN and the readiness to cultivate the CBN approved crops (maize and rice).
He encouraged the youth to support the present administration and partaking in the AADS and other agricultural programmes of the state government.
Speaking, Soewu advised the youth farmers and other stakeholders on the need to be forthright and demonstrate integrity in their dealings and participation in government programmes.