The National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, Abia State, through its ‘Training and Empowerment Programme for host communities, trained and empowered more than 20,000 Rural Women and Youths on “NRCRI Production Technologies and Value Addition To Root and Tuber Crops.”
Executive Director of the institute, Dr. Julius Okonkwo, announced this at the three-day training workshop organised for 120 rural women and youths of immediate six host communities at Awom Na Ebo Secondary Technical School, Amawom in Ikwuano Local Government Area of the state.
He said the participants were taught various types of root and tuber crops based value added products, techniques for rapid multiplication of improved root and tuber planting materials, how to utilise the technologies for business, income generation and household livelihoods and thereafter empowered them with improved, high yielding, disease resistant cassava and sweet potato varieties, which would enable them to kick-start their own enterprises plus Certificates of Participation.
The Executive Director also said NRCRI will continue to support the group to economically empower them, towards ensuring that farmers and other end users of technology skills and knowledge would stimulate their entrepreneurial interests to boost food supply.
The training he said, complements Federal Government’s efforts to reduce poverty and unemployment, hence, “we expect the trainees to effectively use the knowledge they acquired to create wealth and employ members of their families in the business,” adding that the NRCRI has established a Cassava Process Center for production of high quality Cassava Flour and Garri to which Cassava Tubers can be supplied.
Vice Chancellor of Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Professor Francis Otunta, who spoke through Dr. (Mrs) Elechi Asawalam, extolled the NRCRI training for rural women and youths. She said; “the role of women and youths in production, processing and value addition to root and tuber crops is very crucial to the food and nutrition of our people.”