An agriculturalist, Isaac Daniels, says his organisation’s proposed castor seed plantation in Osun has received 20,000 applications for 5,600 farm work vacancies.
Mr Daniels, who is the Utility Manager of Farmers Exploit Channel, a subsidiary of Tragricultural Health Exploit, made the disclosure at a news conference in Osogbo on Tuesday.
He said the firm, in collaboration with Osun Ministry of Agriculture, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, and Extractive Industries Limited among others, had acquired 11,000 hectares of land for the agricultural project.
He said youths’ response toward the project in view of the applications received indicated the degree of unemployment in the country.
Mr Daniels explained that the youths when employed would be engaged in farm production, harvesting and planting among others.
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He further revealed that a proposal had been sent to the African Development Bank, AfDB, for assistance in the quick take-off of the project.
The utility manager stated that the project would provide a total of 5,600 jobs in the short run.
He, therefore, appealed for speedy consideration of the project by the bank for the purpose of engaging the youths positively and to improve their sources of livelihood.
‘‘We consider this project practically important, having realised the potential of the agricultural sector as the greatest employer of labour and, hitherto, the mainstay of African economy.
‘‘With the expanse of arable land in Osun State, which has been tested appropriate for the plantation of castor seed, an important raw material for industrial production, we are building formidable employment opportunities in the state.
‘‘The first phase of the plantation will cover 11,000 hectares with carrying capacity of 5,600 jobs, while the second phase will cover 100,000 hectares with prospects of providing 560,000 jobs.
‘‘By our calculation, we shall be covering 661,000 hectares of land in the next two years with carrying capacity of four million jobs.
‘‘It is our hope that AfDB will support us on this noble project to eradicate poverty in Africa and boost economic growth, which the bank stands for,’’ Mr Daniels said.