The Provost of Federal College of Agriculture, Akure (FECA), Dr. Samson Adeola Odedina, has expressed optimism that the potential of diversification into agriculture can ease out unemployment related poverty within three months.
Odedina said this at the opening ceremony of the ongoing 2-week technical and business training in agriculture value chain, under the FADAMA Graduate Unemployed Youths and Women Support Programme (FADAMA GUYS), which ended last week in Akure.
He said that young people with basic education and right attitude, if properly exposed to proven value chain, would create job opportunities and attendant linkages, “can sieve out unemployment related poverty within three months.”
His words: “The country needs young farmers or new generation of farmers that can raise productivity by applying technology that will make agricultural enterprises profitable so that other youths interested can follow.”
As a leading agricultural training institution in Africa, he disclosed that FECA had trained over 1500 youths in agricultural value chain opportunities in cassava, poultry, aquaculture, maize, tree crops on behalf of stakeholder organisations.
“In November/December 2015, the College on behalf of Federal Government, trained 500 youths from 13 states of the federation on agricultural value chain opportunities.”
He noted the training took the trainees through good agricultural and business practice including relevant networking and collaboration.
The Provost said it also exposed them to success stories of youths, currently benefiting from the College’s expertise in Abuja, Ogun, Delta, Benue, Cross River, and Ebonyi states.
The Provost tasked the trainees to utilize the employment opportunities given to them by the govt to make money and shore up food demand in the state, which available farmers only meet by 10 per cent.
“If youths who have shown voluntary interest in agriculture and have been supported by government with training and logistics fail to deliver, it is a wrong signal to other youths and a threat to agricultural development.”
This, he stressed, would also undermine “the roles agriculture is expected to play in employment, poverty alleviation, raw materials for industries, foreign exchange earnings, etc.”
The state Coordinator of FADAMA III Project, Olusiji Olatunji, said the project has disbursed over N1 billion to farmers in the state, while N400 million went to various youth empowerment schemes.