No fewer than least, 40 National Youth Service Corps members across 23 Local Councils of Rivers State and some youths in the Niger Delta are currently undergoing training, courtesy of the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, to boost food production in the region.
The Executive Director of NSPRI, Dr. Patricia Pessu, who spoke at the capacity building programme in Port Harcourt, said the training became imperative following the rising number of unemployment, high cost of living and social vices among youths in the country.
Represented by Director of Research, NSPRI, Dr. Adeola Oyebanji, he said the training was aimed at preparing the youths to tackle poor post-harvest management of agricultural produce, as well as reduce the 13.9 million unemployed youths in Nigeria.
She said: “As you know, agriculture is the biggest provider of jobs in our country. Majority of our people live in rural areas and a vast proportion of these rural-based Nigerians are engaged in agriculture in one form or the other. Unfortunately, for many reasons including poor post-harvest management, these farmers and other agricultural entrepreneurs are unable to derive optimum value from their investment of time, effort and resources in agriculture.
“An entrepreneurial approach towards the Nigerian agricultural ecosystem becomes particularly imperative in the light of the challenges we continue to experience in Nigeria not only on account of food availability and cost, but also in the area of unemployment.”
Also, the South-South/South-East Zonal Coordinator, NSPRI, Dr. Idorenyin Nwaehujor, expressed optimism that the programme will discourage youths from social vices.
“The purpose of this programme is to empower the youths and this time we are empowering corps members, we have been having trainings in the past but on different categories of people, but this time we are empowering the youth corps members because we believe that with this training, they would be properly channeled and would not be tempted to go into vices in the society.”
One of the beneficiaries, Rachael Beronke, said with the training, they have been empowered to create jobs in the agricultural sector, as well as maximize profits in agricultural value chain.
Source: The Guardian