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Group launches coop society to aid food production in Southwest

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A pan-Yoruba Socio-Cultural group, Yoruba Ko’ya Leadership and Training Foundation, on Friday in Lagos launched a Multipurpose Cooperative Society to help entrepreneurs and boost food production in Southwest.

The Director of Finance and Investment of group, Mr Olakunle Osuntokun, said the multipurpose society would be used to propel knowledge-based entrepreneurship, food production, trading, and vocational training among the youth.

Osuntokun said the multipurpose society, also known as Ijinle Development Multipurpose, would also be used by market men and women in the Southwest geopolitical zone.

According to Osuntokun, the organisation is worried over the abysmal level of food production, high level of poverty and hunger in the zone.

He said the group, therefore, resolved to launch a formal platform through which residents of the zone would be empowered financially without any burden.

Osuntokun noted that the Ijinle Development Multipurpose would help in promoting a culture of savings among the market men and women.

He said it would help both existing and aspiring young entrepreneurs in the zone and boost their savings through loans that attract only five per cent interest payable in one year for growth of their businesses.

“We are focusing on food production; Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM); vocational trainings; agriculture value chain; and digital wealth.

“Our vision is to build an industrialised Southwest, which is strong in commerce and knowledge-based economy.

“The reality is that any nation that lacks the capacity to feed, at least, 70 per cent of her people will lack true peace.

“Today, the Southwest cannot feed 5 per cent of its people; which is a worry to us,” he said

According to Osuntokun, the Ijinle Development Multipurpose is going to bridge the gap and with consistency, the zone shall get there.

In his address, the convener of Yoruba Ko’ya, Deji Osibogun, said he was worried that the Southwest which used to be a haven of agricultural production in the First and Second Republics now rely heavily on other parts of the country for virtually all food.

“Reports have shown that this COVID-19 pandemic has really exposed the zone as a weak entity in terms of food security and agricultural production.

“Also, the pandemic has opened our eyes that every nation must promote and develop knowledge-based entrepreneurship otherwise known as Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM).

“Therefore, Yoruba Ko’ya, through Ijinle Development Multipurpose will be promoting our innovative and creative young men and women on knowledge-based entrepreneurship,” Osibogun said.

In his speech, the Ikeja Area Officer of the Directorate of Cooperative in the Lagos State Ministry of Commerce, Cooperative and Industry, Mr Olusegun Odedina, said many nations of the world, including South Africa, are now strengthening their economy.

Odedina, who inaugurated the multipurpose cooperative society in line with Lagos Coop Law Cap of 2004, said nations were building wealth and creating employment opportunities for their teeming population through Multipurpose Cooperative.

He charged Yoruba Ko’ya to remain committed to its vision and dream of making the Southwest part of the country a producing entity, rather than a consuming land that it is at the moment.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)