YCAD Flag-off Speech by Dr J 'Kayode Fayemi


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A Speech Delivered by His Excellency Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, The Executive Governor, Ekiti State on the Occasion of the Official Launching of Youth Commercial Agricultural Development (Y-CAD), GES Programmes and 2012 Farming Season.

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YCAD Flag-off Speech by Dr J 'Kayode Fayemi

  1. 1. April 30, 2012. A Speech Delivered by His Excellency Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, The Executive Governor, Ekiti State on the Occasion of the Official Launching of Youth Commercial Agricultural Development (Y-CAD), GES Programmes and 2012 Farming SeasonProtocolIt gives me great pleasure to be here today to reaffirm my resolve to pursueAgenda 3 under the 8-point agenda of my administration. I have said timeswithout number that modernisation of agriculture in Ekiti state is a task that mustbe done. We have chosen to bear this responsibility, since we believe that giventhe right impetus, agriculture has the potentials to rapidly transform the socio-economic landscape of Ekiti State. This is why we must seek to move frompeasant farming to taking agriculture as business as quickly as possible.As the chief farmer of the state, coupled with the fact of demonstratingevidence to achieve my agenda on agriculture, I instructed the Ministry ofAgriculture to move this launch to my own allocated portion, where I willpractice commercial agriculture with the teeming youths that are resolved togo the path of agri-business in the state. So, welcome to Mr. Governor’s Plot. Thisis a 30ha plot. Outside of my busy schedule, i will manage and use the output tofeed the government house later this year.One of the most intriguing paradoxes emerging from Nigeria is the high andrising rate of unemployment amidst the exciting GDP growth figures. In 2003 and
  2. 2. 2004 when Nigeria recorded impressive double digit GDP growth rates of 10.3%and 10.6% respectively, unemployment rates were still as high as 14.8% and13.4% respectively. This dysfunction is a reflection of the country’s economicgrowth while real economic development still lags behind. Based on the recentNBS official statistics, today’s unemployment rate stood as high as 23.9%. Theunfortunate issue about this is that the youth bracket carries the critical mass ofthis percentage.It is obvious that the agricultural population of Ekiti state is rapidly ageing. It isalso clear that science and technology is assuming greater roles in the practiseof agriculture. Given this scenario, it is required that the farming population ofthe state should not only be rejuvenated through the infusion of young blood asemergent farmers, efforts is also be expended on conditioning our farmers to therealities of modernisation under improved farm practise. It is for this reason thatmy administration took a holistic view of Youths in Agriculture. The result is theYouth Commercial Agriculture Development (Y-CAD) programme which we areunveiling today. It is our belief that with this proverbial one stone, we shall beattacking the problems of poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, subsistencefarming and ageing farming populations in Ekiti state.You will all agree with me that this type of empowerment initiative, focusing ongiving power or authority to youths, or that aspire to give them a sense ofconfidence and self-esteem has the capacity to trigger off economic, social,ideological, educational, technological and political empowerment. More sothat it is done through a mindset change window.
  3. 3. Since my assumption of duty, my interest in the Youth Empowerment has beenbased on its potential as a potent tool to tackle poverty and equip nextgeneration Nigerian for the future. Today, with the launch of Y-CAD, myassurance even becomes stronger that the business case remains viable and adesirable option. My administration has no doubts that its full implementation willact as an important catalyst in improving the livelihoods of engaged youths andin the very near future creating valuable modern farming skills to matchunlimited opportunities in the commercial farming space, making restiveness,crime and criminality less attractive options for survival.As you all know, Y-CAD is expected to:  provide necessary technical and managerial farming skill training for selected unemployed youths, using a “learn on the farm” approach  facilitate the acquisition of basic and advanced skills for commercial agri- business start-up and expose the selected youths to skills required to operate and manage commercial farms and  stimulate entrepreneurial development and achieve attitude re- orientation among selected youths.As a commercially driven agricultural programme, it offers a window for Ekitiyouths to be gainfully employed. Serious and hard-working youths can becomesufficient without engaging in any criminal act. To those of you who will bepioneering this programme, while congratulating you on your good fortunes tobe selected for this programme, I must also intimate you with the burdens youmust bear. As pioneers, the initial outcome of the programme would depend onyou. You are going to be wearing two caps. You shall be operating as bothfarmers and business operators. In the coming weeks, the officials from theministry of agriculture would be taking you through a period of interviews and
  4. 4. training, where your farming and entrepreneurial skills shall be finely honed. Mygovernment will also engage internationally acclaimed management specialiststhrough UNDP-AMSCO to impact on your entrepreneurship and goodmanagerial skills that will stand the test of time.As you may know, there have been several intervention programmes in the pastthat were designed to attract youths into agriculture. These programmesachieved varying levels of success and shortcomings. We have taken the timeto do proper diagnosis of previous programmes before the final design of the Y-CAD programme. Significant improvements over the previous programmes arethe complete integration of a commercial approach with focus on the entireagricultural value chain. Also, every resource expended on this programme shallbe fully recovered so that others that will come after you may also partake ofyour good fortune. The programme is therefore for youths who are focused anddetermined to earn their living.This programme has been designed to be demand driven. Arable crops likeRice and Cassava would be grown in commercial quantities to feed theupgraded processing plants to being worked upon. The two crops amongothers have been carefully selected to ensure rapid industrial development ofthe State and quick transformation of our youths to self-sufficient youngmillionaires. On the establishment of permanent crops’ plantation, youths will beassisted to own large hectares` of Cocoa and Oil Palm plantations. They willhowever, be expected to learn and work on other quick win agriculturalproducts like vegetables, aquaculture, livestock etc.
  5. 5. Let me quickly assure our teeming existing farmers that we are not neglectingyou. There is the large scale commercial aspect of the government interventionwhich is expected to transform both peasant farmers and small plantationholders through the Farm Expansion programme. Under this scheme more than330 Large Scale Arable Farmers with holdings from 10 to 100Ha each willemerge. From now on farmers will be assisted to rehabilitate over 500 hectaresof cocoa plantation yearly and a lot of Oil Palm farmers will be assisted toexpand their plantations. As you are aware also, the state is partnering with theFederal Government to provide huge subsidy to our teeming farmers, under theGES programme that will be launched today. Under this arrangement,registered 58,000 farmers in Ekiti State will receive direct support from thegovernment using a e-wallet arrangement. To increase productivity this year,almost N1.7billion is budgeted for capital projects in agriculture. Also, inpartnership with the Federal government over N290Million be expended onfertilizer and over N50Million on improved seedlings and agrochemicalssubsidies. We have perfected the platform to directly link up with farmers tomake this a reality. This will be demonstrated today.To enable all these programmes to be on ground, my Government is appealingto our communities through our Traditional Rulers to donate land for ourintervention programmes within their domain. Such communities will only beattracting business and commercial enterprises to their domain. This will have itsown developmental effect both on social and economic fronts within suchcommunities. As I have made it very clear from the beginning of thisadministration, the revival of cocoa in Ekiti State is a priority of my government. Itis good heartening that the process to achieve the revival is now on.
  6. 6. The Y-CAD programme is designed to generate 1,500 direct and about 10,000indirect jobs this year. With this number attained in the first year of theprogramme, I am confident that the achievement of 20,000 jobs as promised inmy 8 point agenda is easily realisable. With the adoption of inclusive marketingin agriculture in Ekiti State, we are confident that agriculture would soonbecome the highest revenue earner for this state.I which at this juncture to appreciate development agencies and relevantprivate sector institutions that are committing resources to the success of thisprogramme. Most especially, i wish to thank the UN agencies (most especiallyUNDP and UNIDO), Notore, AMSCO, Swiss Biostadt and a whole lot more whopartnered and went a long haul with us on this arrangement to become areality. This indicates a socially responsible commitment of private sectorinvestment to agricultural development under a PPP arrangement. MyGovernment will continue to create that enabling environment for the privatesector to invest in commercial agriculture and farm skill development that isdirectly linked to their industries.Also, i will use this medium to encourage the Federal Government and otherState Governments, our primary partner, to initiate a sentitisation and nationalorientation campaign for youth in agriculture, while aligning the mindset ofyouths towards commercial agriculture along the various agriculturalcommodity value chains.Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I see this launch not as a one off or ritualevent, but as an opportunity to set in motion a dynamic mechanism toconvince all stakeholders that facilitating meaningful engagement of young
  7. 7. people and strategically integrating them into the wider economic society willfoster economic and human development where prosperity can reign on thelong run. I therefore use this forum to call on youths to take this initiative serious,on our part, we will not relent on implementing Y-CAD with the overall objectiveof equipping Nigerian youths with business knowledge and life skills to makethem self-reliant and economically empowered, as well as enhance their socio-economic status.Lastly, Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to say here that, nothing gives me joythan seeing the Honourable Minister for Agriculture personally attending thisevent today as the special guest of honour. The last time he visited the state, wewere signing an MoU to revolutionalise cassava value chain in the State. It isgreat to begin to see the practical commencement of such. It also gladdensmy heart to note that Ekiti State is the first state where the Growth EnhancementScheme will be launched by him. Today, I will therefore have the pleasure notonly to co-launch the Y-CAD programme and flag off the year 2012 plantingseason with minister, but to write in history that Ekiti State had achieved anotherfeat being a first mover again.I thank you all