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Oyo govt. re-orientating students’ mindset towards agribusiness through step

By Ibukun Emiola [NAN]


The Oyo State government says it is ready to use the Start Them Early Programme (STEP) initiative to re-orientate students’ mindset towards agribusiness and provide modern infrastructure for learning.

Dr Debo Akande, Special Adviser to the Oyo State Governor on Agribusiness, made the disclosure on Thursday at a joint monitoring exercise of the STEP initiative at Methodist High School, Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Ibadan.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that STEP is an agribusiness collaborative project between Oyo State government and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

Akande reiterated the Makinde-led administration’s commitment to the initiative, saying that he would love to it see spread across all the schools in the state, considering its numerous benefits.

“We want to ensure that STEP is done across all schools in the state.

“The programme is not just about structure, but mindset; changing for young people to see agriculture and agribusiness as something different; that is where we are coming in as agribusiness people.

“Sustainability will be ensured through collaboration among all stakeholders, including the school and the old students.

“STEP will be used to further get the old students of all schools to contribute to their alma maters, for which Methodist High School, Ibadan Old Boys’ Association (MHSIOBA) has set a model; that I am quite happy to see.

“MHSIOBA, having seen what the state government has put in place, in partnership with IITA, is ensuring that security is put in place by fencing the school premises, among other things,” he said.

He added that with the success story of STEP in Oyo, other states had risen to signify their interests in the initiative.

Representatives of the state Ministries of Education and Agriculture in the inspection team, Mr. George Obatowon and Mrs. Funke Adeniran respectively, expressed their satisfaction with the first phase of the project.

They, however, emphasized the need for sustainability and effective monitoring to fully harness the gains of STEP.

In his views, Mr. Adedayo Adefioye, the STEP Coordinator across three African countries, said that the initiative was embarked upon to transform agriculture and make it attractive to the younger generation.

“This will help them to be self-reliant and also create employment in the future.

“STEP has been able to influence the decisions of the government on improving the standards of education and promoting agriculture among young people in the state.

“IITA is keen on sustainability, but we will work with the state government to ensure that,” Adefioye said.

Meanwhile, the President of MHSIOBA, Dr Lekan Abioye, appreciated the joint gesture of the state government and IITA for uplifting the standard of education in Methodist High School through the STEP initiative.

“We were so delighted when the initiative came up and now, we are seeing almost the end of the whole thing.

“Although there will still be a second phase and a whole lot of things coming up, we are so delighted,” Abioye said.

NAN reports that some of the infrastructure provided for the school are an ICT Centre, Agric products processing room, renovated and equipped classrooms and multipurpose science laboratory and a fish pond, among others.

NAN also reports that other government agencies on the monitoring team include representatives of the state Bureau of Public Procurement and the Project Monitoring team. (NAN)

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