The Oyo State government has approved the sum of $1.2 million to upgrade six schools across the state for agribusiness education.
State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akinola Ojo, disclosed this to journalists at the end of the state executive council meeting held on Tuesday.
Others present at the briefing were Commissioner for Local Government, Mr Bayo Lawal; his Environment and Natural Resources, Mr Idowu Oyeleke and Dr Wasiu Olatubosun who is Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism.
Ojo said the schools to be upgraded across six geopolitical zones is a collaboration with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) under a Start Them Early Programme (STEP).
He added that the aim of the government was to encourage youths to embrace agribusiness right from an early age.
The finance commissioner further explained that the state government will fund the project in three tranches in accordance with milestones set for the project within two years.
According to Ojo, the decision of the state government to expend $1.2 million on the project follows the successful launch of STEP in Oyo State and inauguration of STEP Agribusiness Facility at Fasola Grammar School, Oyo, in July.
It will be recalled that Makinde had then declared that the state government was poised to site such agribusiness facilities across the six geopolitical zones of the state.
Ojo said: “The state is blessed with arable landmass and we want to harness this potential by engaging our youths to actualise the expansion of state economy. The programme is for the total cost of $1.2 million and what they are going to do is, they are going to put together in the six geo-political zones, schools will be used as a pilot.
“They are going to overhaul schools in the six geo-political zones within Oyo State at the cost of $1.2 million and the STEP programme is to encourage all our youths to try and ensure they get involved in the agri-business, which is where Oyo State has its competitive advantage.
“This is a state funding project. We are targeting six secondary schools in the state. We will be partnering IITA because we want them to educate our youths through the value chain programmes, they will be educating them on the required information and skills that are needed to see agriculture as sustainable development that can sustain the economic growth of the state.
“Part of the funds will be used to restructure the structures of those schools for IITA to be able to work on, we are going to upgrade those schools for the project, we need to change the mindset of those students that they can sustain themselves and the state economy through agro-economy.”
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