THE Oyo State Government has launched a comprehensive training programme for farmers in rural communities as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance food security.

Declaring the training open on Thursday at the Oyo State- International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Youth Incubation Park Centre, Awe, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Barrister Olasunkanmi Olaleye, stated that the programme was first of its kind in the state’s history under Governor Seyi Makinde’s tenure.

He said the programme aims to reduce unemployment and increase food production, with 62 participants selected from various rural communities undergoing intensive training to enhance their agricultural skills and knowledge.

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He hinted that each participant has been allocated two acres of land to cultivate, with over 200 acres of maize farm already cultivated within the Oyo State-IITA Youth Incubation Park Centre, Awe, saying the initiative is expected to ensure food sufficiency in the coming months.

According to the Commissioner, the 62 farmers were selected from different local governments in the state will undergo training in good agricultural practices in different farming enterprises for the next one year.

Each participant was allocated two acres of farmland as demonstration farm and was also given free inputs like maize seed, cassava stems, herbicides, among others.

He emphasised that the training programme that will be taken to communities and villages in Oyo State is aimed at promoting good agricultural practices, increasing food production and food security in the state.

In her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs Christianah Abioye, commended the participants for their cooperation and urged them to take the training seriously as the government will provide necessary materials.

Speaking on the journey so far, the IITA Park Manager, Mr Oni Waheed, expressed excitement about the initiative, acknowledging the government’s support.

Speaking on behalf of the participants, the participants’ captain, Rev. Dr Idowu David, expressed gratitude to the government and the IITA and promised to make the most of the training and contribute to the development of the agricultural sector in Oyo State.

He stated the programme is a significant step towards achieving the Oyo State government’s agenda to promote agriculture and reduce unemployment, expected to have a positive impact on the lives of the participants and the overall agricultural sector in the state.

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by Nurudeen Alimi