Rural youths, women to undergo training on Agribusiness in 2018

A toxic mix of erratic rains, abnormally high temperatures and floods have wreaked havoc on farming, writing off the bulk of this year’s crop in southern Africa (AFP Photo/Alexander Joe)

A female farmer

A female farmer

The Federal Government, through its Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise (LIFE) Programme, has concluded plans to train three million rural youths and women nationwide on Agribusiness this year.

The Director, Extension Services of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Karima Babangida disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Kano on Tuesday.

The Director was in Kano for an advocacy visit and for the sensitization and selection of Youths and Women Cooperatives under the first phase of the programme to conducted in 24 states and Abuja.

According to her, the aim of her visit was to inform the state government on the new initiative of the Federal Government and to solicit support for the programme to succeed.

She added that the State’s Government support can assist the target groups to move from subsistence agriculture to agribusiness.

“The Programme’s goal is to promote community-based on-farm and off-farm business activities as a model for job and wealth creation among women and youths in rural and suburban households.

“This will be done by linking beneficiaries to financial institutions, market, capacity building and input”, the Director said.

Karima explained that LIFE plans to reach approximately three million women and youths nationwide, with training and capacity enhancing skills along the high value agricultural value chain of comparative advantage.

She added that a key measurable outcome of the LIFE Programme is the creation of a mechanism to direct beneficiaries to agribusiness careers for sustainable income generation and livelihood opportunities.

She said, “The initial primary focus of the programme is post-harvest loss prevention. To this end, a team made up of professional officers from the Ministry of Agriculture is here to fast track the immediate take-off of the programme.”

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She emphasised that the team will sufficiently interact with relevant state and Local Government Officials to carry out its assignment of Collecting data on key gaps needed to be filled to assist selected women cooperatives and youth groups to improve their on-farm and off- farm business activities”.

According to her, the visit would also enable the team to inspect the status of infrastructural facilities built by the state in its communities as well as those built by Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).

She said such as One Stop Shops, to enable the Ministry carry out necessary activities that would put them into effective use by the cooperatives and the community in general.

The Director said that, “the three senatorial zones in Kano will be visited, in each zone, two Local Government Areas will be visited as identified by the State officials in collaboration with FMARD State Director, a total of six LGAs will be visited.

She said that in each LGA, two communities will be selected, based on comparative advantage for the priority agricultural produce of the state, adding a total of 12 communities in the state will be selected and visited.

“From each community, five cooperatives will be identified, and a total of 60 cooperatives from each of the 24 states would be Selected, “she said.

She said at the end of the exercise, the final selection of beneficiaries under the LIFE Programme will be made, where two cooperatives will be selected per community visited.

According to her, the remaining 12 states would also participate in the next phase of the programme.