The involvement of youths in Agriculture and Food security programmes cannot be over emphasized. Youths being the most important target group for human resources development constitute the foundation of sustainable development. For sustainable food production and viable agricultural development, youths need to occupy a very central stage.
In my capacity as a youth, i made a visit to the Ondo State Wealth Creation (WECA) programme after hearing about the program from my interaction with some very passionate young agriculturists in Akure, Ondo state Nigeria. I was astonished about how such program exists for teeming youths with interests in Agricultural entrepreneurship and majority of them not knowing about the existence of such program made available for them. This inspired me to write this blogpost on the “WECA” programme as such information could be valuable to young agropreneurs or should i say now “nagropreneurs” who complain of general access challenges such as capital, farm inputs, access to machineries, improved seeds availability, requisite training and experiences e.t.c such information could come in handy for them.
The Ondo State Wealth Creation Agency was established in 2009, the program understands the importance of agriculture in improving and increasing household food security and hence provides raw materials that can drive the industrialization and employment opportunities for youths in Ondo state, Nigeria.
The WECA program focuses on creating wealth by introducing young men and women to modern agricultural best practices and agribusiness while exposing them to the entire value chain of agriculture which includes supply of inputs, production, preservation, processing, services, marketing and distribution and agric. financing, etc. The WECA programs objective involves the implementation of programs that act as catalysts to the systematic evolution of a new crop of professional farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs and also designs and develops efficient integrated value chain mechanism that focuses on production, processing, preservation, marketing and distribution of agricultural products thereby developing viable indigenous technology as a means to wealth creation.
The program has four departments from finance and admin, programs, planning, research and statistics, support unit and also has four agro business cities which is operational in Ore, Epe, Isuada and Auga in Ondo state.
The programs vision is to make Ondo State a haven for agribusiness, agro processing for other small enterprises and where opportunities for both young and old are harnessed and crystallized into massive wealth creation, job creation and income generation for all.
Departments of the program
The Finance and admin department serves as the Secretariat of the Agency in charge of the general administrative functions, handling all personnel matters and financial management of the Agency.
The Department of Programs is in charge of designing and coordinating the implementation of all programs and projects carried out by the Agency. The programs department is made up of different sections such as Agro Business Cities Section, Sericulture Section, Apiculture Section and Other Programs Section. Various departments such as Fisheries, Livestock, Arable, Sericulture, and Apiculture are available under this department.
Aquaculture/Fisheries Program of the Agency involves training farmers and young graduates on best practices for maximum production in fish farming such as sourcing for quality inputs like fingerlings, juveniles, fish feed; opportunities available in marketing and distribution of fish and inputs etc. Qualified fisheries experts are identified as resource persons to provide training, monitoring and mentorship services to these farmers and young graduates. WECA provides facilities for fish farming such as fish ponds, equipment and inputs for young farmers engaged in the program to assist them in carrying out their activities.
The Livestock (Poultry) Unit supervises the rearing of layers and production of eggs as well as the rearing of broilers and processing of frozen chicken. It undertakes the supervision of and makes recommendations relating to poultry farming, working with other department and units throughout the entire value chain to ensure success of the programs organized by the Agency.
Livestock (Animal Husbandry) Unit is in charge of the design, planning and implementation of programs relating to rearing of large animals such as cattle rearing, breeding and fattening and small animals such as piggery, goatry, rabbitry etc.
Arable Cultivation Unit looks at viable cash crops the Agency should invest in for training of youths and the adoption of best practices for planting and harvesting optimum yield.
The Sericulture Section is responsible for developing the Agency’s program for rearing of silk worms, production of 100% high quality silk, weaving, dying of textile materials, cultivation of mulberry leaves and lawyer’s wig production. The Section is based in the extension office of the Agency, along the Ondo Road of Akure and stocked with modern equipment and machines suitable for production and training.
The Apiculture Section is in charge of implementing programs relating to beekeeping, apiary management and honey production. The Section is also located at the Ondo Road extension Office with two apiaries in Akure.
More information about the program can be found on the WECA website
it should be noted that registration is strictly for youth interested in agriculture and agribusiness in Ondo State.
Requirements for Participation can be found on the WECA website
Contact Address: WECA Complex Quater 103, Awolowo Way Alagbaka Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria. West Africa