The World Bank Task Team Leader, Dr Adetunji Oredipe, says the Graduate Unemployment Youths Support Scheme (GUYSS) will enhance food production and create job opportunities in Nigeria.
Oredipe saidi in Abuja on Thursday that GUYSS was a new initiative of the World Bank-assisted FADAMA III Additional Financing (AF) programme.
He said that the World Bank, through FADAMA III AF programme, created GUYSS to empower more than 200 youths from various parts of the country via the creation of employment opportunities.
He said that the programme was conceptualised to engage the youths productively in different agricultural endeavours that would enhance their livelihoods.
“We are collaborating with the Federal Government to ensure the success of the programme.
“The programme is targeting job creation, building the capacity of the youth and facilitating efforts to keep the foreign exchange rate of the nation’s currency low.
“We want to eliminate the importation of rice and tomatoes in order to reduce the pressure on the naira and make the national economy strong,’’ he said.
Oredipe said that the programme would support all aspects of agricultural production as business ventures; right from crops to livestock production, inputs support and supply as well as advisory services.
He also said there would be extension services for the beneficiaries on post-harvest measures, including warehousing, marketing and products distribution.
The World Bank official said that the target beneficiaries of GUYSS would be secondary school certificate holders, undergraduates and graduates between the ages 18 and 35 years.
He pledged that the scheme would ensure transparency in the selection of beneficiaries.
Oredipe said that that the programme would start before July with a starter pack for the successful candidates.
The Federal Government, in collaboration with the World Bank’s FADAMA III AF Project, launched GUYSS in May.
The first phase of the scheme would cover 21 states and the FCT.
The states are Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto and Taraba.
At the launch of the scheme, the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said that GUYSS would facilitate the attainment of the goals of the Green Alternative Roadmap for the Federal Government’s Agriculture Promotion Policy (APP).
The minister said that the Green Alternative Roadmap recognised the key roles of smallholder farmers and large-scale farmers in maximising agricultural output and increasing efficiency in agricultural operations.