By Crusoe Osagie
Worried by the high level of unemployment rate which experts claim has hit about 30 per cent, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has announced plans to establish skill acquisition centres to engage youths with agricultural skills to earn a living and address future food shortages in the country.
The minister noted that with an anticipated increase in Nigeria’s population, which he put at 500 million by the year 2050, there is need for government to engage the nation’s teeming unemployed youths in agriculture by setting up skill acquisition centres to reduce the unemployment level in Nigeria.
The minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh disclosed this during a meeting with the management of Triton Aqua Africa Limited in Abuja
He noted that the federal government had already acquired 100 hectares of land at Gaobe, in Kuje Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the establishment of the skill acquisition centres
According to the minister, “The young people are not happy with us, we need to find jobs for them, the Africa economy is not doing very well, oil and gas will not employ a million workers at the best of time and we are heading for 500million people in 34 years, these young people want to work. We have just acquired a piece of land at Gaobe, 100 hectares, we want to set up training centres in all kinds of agricultural fields and we are hoping we shall get the Songhai centre to come in there and create training centre where we can engage young people and women in six months training for them to own their small operations,” he said.
The minister said he is very pleased with Triton Aqua Nigeria Limited for their investments in the country and asked the company to render assistance in agricultural training scheme apart from doing business with the country.
Ogbeh who was disturbed by the shortage of protein in the diets of Nigerian homes, said the country needs to encourage local production of other species of fish aside cat fish and tilapia species, adding that government would continue to partner with research institutes and private groups to engage in massive investment in fish production.
He stated that the three universities of agriculture would soon return within the purview of the ministry, saying that he foresees a situation whereby every undergraduate in agricultural science would own a farm and company in the nearest future in the country.
The Minister said the government of Nigeria would continue to render necessary assistance to Triton Aqua Nigeria Limited towards its optimal local production of fish.
Earlier in his message, the Chairman, TritonAqua Nigeria Limited Mr. Ashvin Samtani who led the delegation to the ministry said Triton Aqua group has its companies spread across other countries like India and Ghana established its company in Nigeria in 1995.
The chairman said his company with a local production capacity of 70,000 metric tonnes of fish per annum had created 3,000 jobs in the country, adding that if his company is given necessary supports by the government, it would save Nigeria 125 million dollars per annum in the next two to five years.
Samtani explained that as part of its contributions to the vision of the present administration in creating jobs, his company had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Oyo state government to help in training and employment generation for the youths in the state. He sought for more supports from the Federal government especially in allocation of land and water bodies for the expansion of their investments in the country.