Agriculture in Nigeria : FG Sets to Empower 740,000 Youths
The Federal Government has concluded plans to empower 740,000 market-oriented young agricultural producers in rural areas, under Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP), in a bid to reduce unemployment.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Director, Information, Mr Tony Ohaeri and made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to the statement, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Shehu Ahmed disclosed this while addressing a one-day stakeholder’s workshop on Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP).
“In its determination to reduce the level of youth unemployment, the Federal Government has plans to empower 740,000 market-oriented young agricultural producers.
“The youth living in rural areas are earmarked to benefit from this incentive under Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP), the statement quoted Ahmed as saying.
The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by the Director, Animal Production and Husbandry Services, Dr Egejuru Eze said the programme would cover the entire 36 states and including Abuja.
Ahmed said the programme had commenced with six pilot states across the six geopolitical zones.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the states are Bauchi, Imo, Katsina, Lagos, Niger, and Rivers.
According to the Permanent Secretary, the beneficiaries of the project would comprise of 20,000 school leavers and rural youth leaders from each state.
He further said the YEAP would develop additional 18,500 University graduates, who would be formed into young agribusiness entrepreneurs, called ‘’Nagropreneurs’’ that would develop business along the agricultural value chain.
Ahmed explained that the beneficiaries of the YEAP programme would enjoy supports from the Federal and State Governments in areas of access to land, technical, entrepreneurial, financial business and marketing.
He, therefore, commended the efforts of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) for providing assistance to the ministry in strengthening the capacities of those to implement YEAP in the six pilot states.
The Permanent Secretary, however, solicited for an expansion of the programmes to cover more states of the Federation.
In her goodwill message, the FAO Representative in Nigeria Ms. Louise Setshwaelo said youth segment form one of the greatest assets Nigeria could take advantage of to take poverty out of the country.
Setshwaelo said the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the FAO in 2012 designed the YEAP in order to provide necessary skills and opportunities for the youth.
She reiterated the commitment of the FAO to continue collaborating with the Federal and state Governments in the implementation of the programme aimed at empowering the Nigerian youth.