By Iyabo Adebisi

Oyo State has been selected among states to benefit from the Women in Agricultural Technical Education and Apprenticeship, WATEA.

The programme is meant to train youths and women in agriculture as well as provide them with apprenticeship opportunities in the private sector.

Director-General of the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency, OYSADA, Dr Debo Akande, made this known when Governor ‘Seyi Makinde, received the Regional Agriculture Counsellor, Benin Republic, Cameroon, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Togo, Dr Sonia Darracq and the Head of Capacity Development Office, WATEA Coordinator, Mrs Zaina Sore, in Ibadan.

According to Akande, the French Government has offered to support the state government in addressing the gap existing in agribusiness in terms of skills and competencies.

He added that the WATEA team has been working with the Oyo State College of Agricultural Technology (OYSCATECH), Igboora, noting that the institution’s curriculum is being revamped, while its teachers and students will also be supported.

He said: “Oyo State has been selected being one of the most strategic places for the project, which focuses strongly on apprenticeship in Agribusiness where young people will be trained and become apprentices in the private institutions.

“We all know the gap existing in agribusiness; the deficit in terms of skills and competencies. And what the French government is doing is to support us to provide that now at this particular point in time. 

“They are working strongly with OYSCATECH. Now, we are revamping our curriculum supporting the teachers within the schools and supporting the students as well. We are aiming that the outcome of this programme would have very strong, skilled, young people who can become entrepreneurs and can support the constant increase we are seeing in agribusiness where we have a lot of private sectors that are coming. 

“The state is committed to this project and they can bear witness to that based on everything this Team has requested from the Governor, which has been approved. 

“So, this means a lot for Oyo State, the students and even to the LAUTECH. Almost everything they requested has been approved by His Excellency.”

Earlier, the representative of the French Government, Dr Darracq, said the team was in Ibadan to visit the governor over the WATEA programme, which is funded by the French Government and is to last two years.

Darracq said: “The programme targets the Polytechnics and Technical Colleges of Agriculture all around the country, especially in Oyo State. 

“The programme would have more youths properly trained in agricultural techniques in connection with the French Technical Colleges of Agriculture. 

The Regional Agriculture Counsellor, Benin Republic, Cameroon, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Togo, Dr Sonia Darracq commended Governor Makinde for his offer to support the programme.

Similarly, Mrs Sore of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), who is also the Coordinator of the WATEA programme, said the programme began a year ago and that Oyo State is one of the six beneficiary states.

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