Makinde Launches Women Agrifood Entrepreneurship Programme with France

Governor Seyi Makinde today expressed his joy over the inclusion of 1,300 women in the Support to Women Entrepreneurship in the Agrifood sector of Nigeria (SEFAN/SWEAN) programme.

The governor was speaking at the official launch of the programme at IITA, Ibadan when he said that. He added that collaborations with the French government have always been productive and expressed his appreciation for their part in the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP).

He noted that Oyo State has mapped out the roads that will get the interventions in the project and restated Oyo State’s commitment to complete 200km of access roads before 2021 ends.

A statement released by the governor’s chief press secretary quoted the governor expressing his delight at the selection of Oyo State women for the programme. The governor also stated that the collaboration with the French government has helped them progress in the agricultural sector.

He said: “I want to formally extend a warm welcome to you, Your Excellency, Ambassador Jerome Pasquier. Welcome to Oyo State. You are no longer just a visitor to us here, you have become more of a friend.”

“This is your fourth visit to us here in Oyo State since 2019 if I am not mistaken. And each time we have met, our meeting has always been followed by development. So, I must say this is the type of friendship and relationship that we favour.”

“I remember in one of your visits, one of the requests that we had made was that you should look into investing in our human capital development.”

“I am glad that you took that request to heart and we are seeing the result in the form of this Support to Women Entrepreneurship in the Agrifood sector in Nigeria (SEFAN/SWEAN) programme. “So, let me again say thank you for honouring us in this way.”

“We are delighted that our women in Oyo State are among the 300 direct beneficiaries of this programme. You have indicated that there will be 1,000 indirect beneficiaries in the immediate and, if my math serves me right, your projection is that each of the women will influence 3-4 other women. So, the reality of interventions like these is that they have the potential of accomplishing even more than is projected.”

“Historically, our women have been known to be very enterprising. They do not only farm but they also find markets for their produce. Some even go as far as merchandising, making the best use of the informal structures that they have been exposed to.”

“So, with the training they will be receiving during this SEFAN/SWEAN programme, I have no doubts that they will excel even more.”

“I am always of the opinion that when the right people are given the right opportunities, they thrive. And knowing the antecedents of the French Government I know that the women you have chosen must have been carefully selected and they will put in their best and be worthy ambassadors of Oyo State and Kaduna State.”

The governor asked for more interventions of a similar nature and encouraged local and foreign benefactors/governments to make similar investments. He promised that any such investments would go directly to the people, noting that his administration’s collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on the Start Them Early Program (STEP) is already showing positive results.

Governor Makinde explained that the programme has added six more schools to the STEP project and that the government has increased the beneficiary schools to 12.

“Oyo State remains open for business and we will continue to play our part to see that every investment you choose to make in Oyo State yields the desired results,” he said.

The commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Jacob Ojemuyiwa spoke at the event and said only Oyo and Kaduna states were chosen for the SEFAN/SWEAN programme, describing it as a great opportunity for the women that would be chosen.

He also added that the training is expected to expand the skills development of women agribusiness entrepreneurs in both states.

He said: “Women are involved all along every value chain in Oyo State from farm to table, about 30 per cent in food production, 90 per cent in the processing of crops, livestock and fisheries, and up to 55 per cent in other business ventures.”

“Training and supporting women have a far-reaching effect on the whole population. Women are known to be better managers of resources and they use their wisdom for multiplying the effect of any training given to them. Women are known to repay loans given to them 100%.”

“It is a great strategy by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs in Nigeria for the development of agriculture in Nigeria.”

He rounded up his speech by assuring the French Ambassador that choosing Oyo state was the right choice and promised that the Oyo state women in the programme would maximize the opportunity they were given saying; “wherever we are, we set the pace and this programme will not be an exception.”

Notable personalities at the launch included the First lady of Oyo State, Mrs Tamunominini Makinde, Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Oyebisi Ilaka and other government functionaries.

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