Ooni of Ife has said promoting agro-processing would address the menace of poverty and unemployment in Nigeria.
The Bank of Industry (BOI), Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi and Hephzibar Network are partnering to train 150 youths on agro-processing.
The Head of Osun Bureau of the BoI, Dr Emmanuel Ojowuro, made this known in Ile-Ife on Thursday at a news conference, to herald the Ife Youth Agro-entrepreneurship Summit expected to hold Oct. 6.
Ojowuro said BoI would be offering loan to some of the participants who have bankable agricultural ideas.
He said the partnership was not only to provide fund but to also support skill development among youths in the area of agriculture.
“This is a development oriented programme for the youths, we are not to just financing but participating in the development of youths.
“We will be financing some of the participants who have bankable ideas at nine per cent interest rate per annum.
“However, an arrangement between us and the Ooni crystallises, may not be more than five per cent interest rate per annum, we have different kind of scheme that the participants can benefit from,” BoI official said.
Ogunwusi, who was represented by Mr Moses Olafare, said promoting agro-processing would address the menace of poverty and staggering unemployment challenges in Nigeria.
The monarch said the partnership was one of the drives of Ooni to aid Nigerian economic growth and improve the agricultural policies.
“With several areas of support and budgeting from the government at all levels, and donor agencies both locally and internationally, farmers would have the chance to earn much more with a bit of extra effort.
“In order to achieve the benefits of agro-processing, it is important to improve the agricultural policy of the country.
“It is also vital to attract adequate budgeting, not only in the form of donations, but also regular business investments. This can be done through a proper investment policy of government,” he said.
According to the monarch, the productive use of technologies by the grassroots youth should be maximally encouraged as this will increase the speed and quality of the process.
Chief Executive Officer, Hephzibar Network, Mr Olamide Awosunle, said the participants were limited to 150 to ensure effectiveness.
“It is a project in favour of the youths and the nation. We limit the participants to 150 to ensure effectiveness.’’
Awosunle said the summit would focus on cassava processing, maize processing, aquaculture and fish processing, mushroom cultivation, plantain processing, agribusiness start-up and development.
According to him, others are insight on exportation of local products and NAFDAC Registration Procedure among others.