The Federal Government has engaged over 30,000 youths across the country in agricultural extension services, soil mapping and soil testing, as part of efforts aimed at realising food security and job creation.
The Executive Director, National Agricultural Development Agency (NALDA), Paul Ikonne, disclosed this while unveiling plans of the Federal Government during a monthly briefing in Abuja, where he noted that President Muhammadu Buhari is apt in achieving food security in the country.
Ikonne said the President has mandated NALDA to work towards ensuring that the soil begin to yield maximum output for farmers to get returns on their investments.
He pointed out that unemployed youths with background in agriculture or pure sciences would be availed of two weeks intensive training on extension services, soil mapping and soil testing, in order to acquire knowledge on soil testing collection.
Ikonne added that the beneficiaries would also be equipped with soil testing kits and farmers would be made to pay N500 per sample collection, while NALDA bears the remaining cost.
On the selection mode, he said the agency had written to the state governors to provide them with lists of agric graduates, saying some of the Governors have responded as their lists have been forwarded.
He said to ensure the COVID-19 protocols are strictly followed, the beneficiaries will be engaged in batches of 20, adding that after the training, they would be made to download a phone application that would enable them collate real time data.
The data according to Ikonne would help in future planning on the fertilizer usage and the type of assistance needed by the farmers.
He further disclosed that they are collaborating with the Nigerian Institute of Soil Science, saying the provost of the institute also attested to the fact that capacity building of manpower has been the missing link in achieving their goals.