ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPACT OF YOUTH COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME ON UNEMPLOYMENT REDUCTION IN EKITI STATE (2011-2015).
High rate of unemployment is a bedeviling issue that seem to be taking the frontline in every public discuss on socioeconomic problems in Ekiti State; The reported unabated upsurge of unemployment in Ekiti State despite the measures put in place in the various aspects of agriculture through the Youth Commercial Agricultural Development (YCAD) programme to stop the trend is mind boggling and contrary to expectation. This necessitated the study entitled “assessment of the impact of Youth Commercial Agricultural Development programme on unemplotment reduction in Ekiti state (2011-2015)” which was anchored on three objectives which include to ascertain the extent to which the YCAD empowerment(training) programme has reduced unemployment in Ekiti state, examine ways through which public private partnership on the agricultural programme has helped to reduce unemployment and the extent to which the provision of agricultural incentives has attracted the unemployed people to agricultural businesses. The design of the study is basically survey method but complimented with statistical documents. To this end, the instruments used for the collection of primary data include questionaire and interview while relevant documents that contain secondary data such as beneficiaries record books were used to support it. The primary data were presented in tables of frequencies and percentages while the Pearson product moment correlation was used to test the hypotheses. Among other things, the study revealed that beyond the recorded beneficiaries the programme had an indirect impact on non-beneficiaries who did not participate in the empowerment programme. However, only the recorded beneficiaries or participants had access to agricultural incentives made available at the period due to poor funding of the agricultural sector during the implementation of the YCAD programme which was as low as 2.4% in 2013 and this limited the effect of the programme on unemployment reduction in the aspect of attracting the unemployed to agricultural businesses. In addition, some of the private partner
organizations had only little impact while some were idle which also limited the achievement of the programme. Hence the study recommend that significant proportion or part (25%) of the state’s annual budget should be allocated to the agricultural sector consistently in order to ensure adequate provisions for both the direct and the indirect beneficiaries of the YCAD empowerment (training) programme in terms of the needed incentives and engagement of private partner organizations should be hinged on tested ability to promote agricultural employments.