Food security: Association begins agro-processing entrepreneurship programme for youths
The Concerned Youth Empowerment Association of Nigeria, Abuja, on Thursday commenced agro-entrepreneurship programme for youths in the country.
The National President of the association, Mr Noble Adaelu, told newsmen at the opening of the maiden edition of the programme, that it was geared toward promoting youth’s involvement in agriculture.
He said the programme was organised in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC).
While expressing concern at the increasing rate of hunger in the country, Adaelu said the programme was also aimed at promoting and sustaining the demand and supply of locally made goods.
He said that the beneficiaries would be sensitised on the processing, preservation and packaging agro-products; food and vegetable production, fisheries, feed making, poultry and nutrition.
Adaelu said the programme would be replicated in the six geo-political zones of the country to stir up the interest of the youths in agriculture.
“This initiative is structured to make agro-processing a competitive venture among students in order to draw their attention and interest to the abundant industrial opportunities in agriculture for gainful employment.
“This is an opportunity to create a generation of agro industrialists thereby building a robust economy independent of oil.
“The programme will draw more interest and participation by using indigenous technology to advance the country’s economy and drastically reduce youth’s restiveness and unemployment,’’ he said.
In his remarks, the Director-General of RMRDC, Dr Hussaini Ibrahim, appealed to the Federal Government to focus on the empowerment of youths by assisting them to be involved in agriculture.
Ibrahim was represented by Dr Sabinus Ebiriekwe, Asst. Director, Agriculture and Agro-Allied Department of the council.
He identified lack of access to finance and high lending interest rates as major factors preventing the youths from participating in agriculture.
The D-G commended the efforts of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in empowering educated youths in agriculture and agribusiness.
“Clearly, opportunity exists for directing the Nigerian youth toward agribusiness to profound societal and economic benefit.
“This effort must extend beyond re-orientation and formal training to involve the development of detailed agri-business plans and credit worthy loan applications,’’ Ibrahim suggested.
Some beneficiaries of the programme, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the programme would encourage and change their negative mindset about agriculture.
The Concerned Youth Empowerment Association of Nigeria is a co-operative society that promotes and clamours for the rights of youths to enable them attain agreeable democratic atmosphere.