At least three states in Nigeria have visited Oyo State in the last month to understudy the Start Them Early Programme (STEP). Confirming this information, the Director General of the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency (OYSADA) Dr Debo Akande, said at least three states have written to the agency requesting to learn about the successes of the programme in the state. “This is proof that we are on the right path,” he said.
Dr Akande said Ogun and Osun States have already visited the facilities, while Lagos, Kano and Kaduna have already emulated Oyo State and started running STEP. “You can’t hide a good thing. These states are seeing that Oyo State is again setting the pace in the school’s agribusiness programme, and that is why they are coming here to see what we are doing and how we are doing it.”
The Start Them Early Programme piloted in Fasola Grammar School, Fasola – the first in Nigeria – courtesy of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). The Director-General of the IITA, Dr. Nteranya Saginga, funded the project with his cash prize of the Africa Food Prize Award. Thereafter, the Oyo State Government bought into the vision and have expanded the project to six schools in the six geopolitical zones in the state.
Dr Akande said the programme now runs in Bishop Phillips Academy, Ibadan, Methodist High School, Ibadan, Christ High School, Oleyo, Adegun Asake Grammar School, Igangan, Iresaadu High School, Iresaadu and UMCA Secondary Grammar School, Igbeti. “This is the second phase of the project. We are happy that His Excellency Seyi Makinde, was able to key into this vision and set these students on the path of agribusiness success.”
The programme is also running successfully in Fasola Grammar School, Fasola where it was piloted. Facilities in the school include a Demonstration Field, where students actively engage in mechanised agriculture, a Processing Centre, an ICT room and a Training Room. They also have Broilers’ and Layers’ Pens, a Screen House and Biogas Station. Students are trained in enterprise and their Agribusiness career prospects. Some of their products include confectioneries, vegetables, eggs, broiler birds, graphic designs, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, sanitisers and liquid soaps.