By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
No fewer than 4,250 youths and women in Edo state have commenced a six-day training on agribusiness to boost food security in the country.
The training is sponsored by the federal government of Nigeria, in collaboration with the Edo State government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Agribusiness Promotion Coordinator, Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise-Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) Project, Mrs. Anthonia Esenwa, said the project is in line with the federal government’s vision for national food security in the Niger Delta region.
She noted that the vision agrees with Edo state Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki’s plan for the Accelerated Agricultural Development Programme to address unemployment and poverty among youths to improve the capacity of agripreneurs and to ensure food security in the state.
She explained further that the pilot phase of the programme covers the training of 125 beneficiaries as incubates and 25 others as incubators that will be exposed to the theoretical part of entrepreneurship.
According to Esenwa, “Agriculture is no longer a pastime activity but a business, which the federal government, through the agricultural transformation agenda is promoting as an alternative source of foreign exchange earnings as revenue from crude oil is dwindling.”
She added that the project, which is being implemented in nine states of the Niger Delta will operate across 10 local government areas, while beneficiaries will be selected in 10 communities in each of the LGAs.
“The selected commodities for Edo state are fishery, cassava, rice and poultry.
“It is hoped that at the end of the first phase of the project, 4,250 indigenes of Edo state will be empowered.
“The LIFE-ND is aimed at enhancing the income, food security and job creation for youths and women in rural areas of the Niger Delta.”
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Edo State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Peter Aikhuomobhogbe, said the project targets women and youths, to enable them support themselves.
“The project is geared towards supporting women and youths in agricultural enterprises. The ongoing training will strengthen incubators with strong agric enterprises so that they can take in incubate to enable them to support themselves and have a sustainable livelihood,” he said.