By Gertrude Onyekachukwu-Uteh
STEPHEN EZEDIUNOR was trained in the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) of the Delta State Government in the 2015/2016 cycle, having graduated from Federal Polytechnic, Oko where he obtained an HND in Business Administration. He was trained in poultry production and established at YAGEP Poultry Farm Cluster at Aboh-Ogwashi.
He is now a consultant in poultry business. He bought a car and acquired plots of land from the proceeds. He diversified to crop production and to building technology and drawing of building plans, a skill he acquired from his late father. His experience with YAGEP so far changed his earlier perception about government’s agricultural and social investment programmes. He tells his story after six years.
“When we started, I never knew it would be like this. I am one of those who criticized government’s programmes, but YAGEP changed my perception. I reluctantly picked the form, but was surprised I was invited for interview and, later, to Songhai Delta, Amukpe where we had our Orientation and Personal Effectiveness Training for a week.
“The establishment package was commendable for a start-up. Ever since, I have been in business. There was no time I was without stock. In fact, I have lost count of the number of cycles I have completed.
From my proceeds, I bought a car and acquired a hectare of land. I run consultancy services for other farmers. I also produce cassava, yam, vegetable and maize. The tubers of yam I harvest from my farm sustain my family all year round.
“I commend Governor Okowa for this laudable initiative. If every government is doing this, unemployment will be brought to the barest minimum, thereby reducing social vices among youths. I knew the pitiable state we were when we got enrolled into YAGEP. I know how well it is with every one of us in this cluster now.”