Oyo Government Launches Women Entrepreneurship in Agri-food Sector Programme
Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan.
The Oyo State Government has launched the “Support Women Entrepreneurship in the Agri-food sector in Nigeria” (SEFAN/SWEAN) programme in the State.
Governor Seyi Makinde, while speaking at the official launch of the training programme at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, on Friday, expressed happiness over the inclusion of 1,300 women in the State, who are to benefit from the programme.
The governor stated that the relationship between Oyo State and the French Government has always brought about development, especially in the area of collaboration in the agriculture sector, which has culminated in the SEFAN/SWEAN programme, while appreciating the French Government for its part in the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP).
Makinde noted that the State had mapped out the roads that would get the RAAMP interventions, maintaining that the plan of the government to complete 200km of access roads in Oyo State before the end of 2021 remained on course.
“We are delighted that our women in Oyo State are among the 300 direct beneficiaries of this programme. You have indicated that there will be 1,000 indirect beneficiaries in the immediate and, if my math serves me right, your projection is that each of the women will influence 3-4 other women. So, the reality of interventions like these is that they have the potential of accomplishing even more than is projected,” he said.
The governor asserted that the SEFAN/SWEAN training programme would help the women excel even more as they have been known to be very enterprising, not only farming but also finding markets for their produce; even going as far as merchandising and making the best use of the informal structures that they have been exposed to.
“I am always of the opinion that when the right people are given the right opportunities, they thrive. And knowing the antecedents of the French Government, I know that the women you have chosen must have been carefully selected and they will put in their best and be worthy ambassadors of Oyo State and Kaduna State,” Makinde noted.
The governor asked for more interventions for the State, pledging that any investment made in the state would go directly to the people, just as he noted that the state government’s collaboration with the IITA on the Start Them Early Programme (STEP) had begun to yield positive results, as the programme has expanded the STEP to six more schools in all the zones in Oyo State, while the government has also decided to increase the number of beneficiary-schools to 12.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Jacob Ojemuyiwa, said Oyo and Kaduna states are the only two states selected for the SEFAN/SWEAN programme, which he described as a great opportunity for women, noting that the training would go a long way to expand the skill development of women agribusiness entrepreneurs in the two states.
“Women are involved all along every value chain in Oyo State from farm to table, about 30 percent in food production, 90 percent in the processing of crops, livestock and fisheries, and up to 55 percent in other business ventures. Training and supporting women have a far-reaching effect on the whole population,” Ojemuyiwa noted.
He disclosed that women are known to be better managers of resources, who use their wisdom for multiplying the effect of any training given to them and are known to repay loans given to them one hundred percent, saying the training is a great strategy by the French Government and the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Nigeria for the development of agriculture in Nigeria.
The Commissioner assured the French Ambassador, Jerome Pasquier, that the involvement of Oyo State women in the programme is a good decision that it will be proud of, saying: “wherever we are, we set the pace and this programme will not be an exception.”
The personalities at the launch included the wife of the Oyo State governor, Mrs Tamunominini Makinde; Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Oyebisi Ilaka and other government functionaries.