The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) – Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) has trained 50 youths in Niger on networking in agricultural value chain.
Dr Mathew Ahmed, the State Programme Coordinator (SPC), made this known on Monday while declaring open the one-day workshop in Minna. IFAD-VCDP is on rice and cassava value chain.
Ahmed said that the training aimed at bringing youths together for agribusiness and value addition in rice and cassava, would entrench mechanised farming at the grassroots.
“We are looking for youths that will develop interest in agriculture and take mechanisation of agriculture to the grassroots,’’ he said.
According to him, after the training the youth are expected to form cooperative societies, and then apply for IFAD-VCDP assisted implement to enable them start agribusiness.
“We will provide you with power tillers, rice de-stoners and other farm implement to set up your own business,’’ he said.
The SPC said that the training would strengthen the VCDP by creating jobs, increasing output and as well as creating wealth for our teaming youths.
“We want to create a platform among the youth in rice and cassava value chain, where they will meet and exchange ideas and understand the VCDP better,’’ he said.
He said that the VCDP intends to create 6, 000 jobs in Niger before the termination of the programme in 2020.
Ahmed said that the VCDP had given out 20 power tillers to farmer groups in the state, adding that there were 16 of such small tractors waiting to be given out for agribusiness.
He said that 10 youths were picked from Wushishi, Bida, Kontagora, Katcha and Shiroro local government areas in the state.
Also speaking, Mrs Nkiruka Nnaemego, the Team Leader, VCDP Training Faculty, urged the Federal Government to formulate a policy that would compel youths to embrace farming as an occupation.
Nnaemego said that the training tagged: ‘‘Youth Farm Project,’’ was working in Niger, Ogun, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue and Taraba VCDP participating states.
“At the end of the training, the youth should have moved from subsistence farming to mechanised farming,’’ she said.
Also, Mr Usman Dagwagi, the Vice-Chairman, Apex Farmer Group in Wushishi, and a participant said that the training had exposed them on how to use some modern farming techniques.
Dagwagi said that the workshop also taught them the art of transplanting crops,adding that it would also help them to increase their farm yields.