The Federal Government and development partners yesterday, disclosed that young farmers training on seed production will commence 26th March 2017, under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme Phase 1, ATASP-1, of essential staple food crops.
This was disclosed by the National Technical Adviser, ATASP-1, Dr Oyesola Oyebanji, who chaired the technical committee meeting for preparation of the training of beneficiaries, which was attended by officials of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, National Seed Council of Nigeria, NASC, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, ICRISAT, and ATASP-1 National and zonal staff.
According to Oyebanji would be trained on seed production technology has commenced and will cover three commodities- cassava, rice and sorghum, right from production, processing, marketing, linkages, registration of seed companies, seed council regulations and quality control, storage, among others. In addition, benefiting youths will go home with starter-pack.
The programme was initiated by the Federal Government for five years and funded with loan from the African Development Bank since 2015, which seven states were selected and are Anambra, Enugu, Kano, Kebbi, Jigawa, Niger, and Sokoto.
Its objective will be to create jobs, reduce postharvest losses, secure food and nutrition, generate income, develop rural infrastructure and attract private sector investment in agriculture.
He said: “The training is meant to turn young people to seed and planting materials entrepreneurs.
“The target is these young seed producers will close the huge seed gap in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, as well as create more jobs for other young people.”
Meanwhile, at the meeting stakeholders implementing programme for the Federal Government as part of boosting food security agreed that interested young farmers are to be between 16 and 35 (women are strongly advised to apply), profiled by ATASP-1 programme, be practising farmers and ready to take up seed production as a business, having access to land, at least a hectare, willingness to serve as technical adviser, and must be educated up till secondary school.
The Outreach Specialists in the four Staple Crop Processing Zones of Adani-Omor (Enugu and Anambra states), Bida-Badeggi ((Niger state), Sokoto-Kebbi (Sokoto and Kebbi states) and Kano-Jigawa (Kano and Jigawa) where ATASP-1 is being implemented are expected to turn in the shortlisted list of potential beneficiaries on 24th February, 2017.
Thereafter, the first batch of training commences on 26th March 2017. The cassava training will be in Abuja, the rice training will be in Badeggi, while the sorghum training will be in Kano.