Paul Obi in Abuja
In an effort to effect its strategic plan on job creation, the federal government wednesday launched the Smart Farmer Scheme (SFS), an ICT based scheme geared to create over 490, 000 jobs as well as boast agriculture
The scheme is in fulfillment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to boast agriculture and as well as scale up creation of jobs under the auspices of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE)
Speaking during the launch of the scheme, Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige explained that the current administration is committed to tackling the menace of youth unemployment in the country.
The minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Clement Iloh, said agriculture holds the key to fight youth unemployment as well as food security.
He said: “Nigeria must take full advantage of the enormous employment potentials in the agricultural sector in order to change its economic fortune.
Ngige added: “A combination of productive activities in the agricultural sector and ICT will surely make our journey towards repositioning agriculture as one of the corner stones for sustainable national development a reality
“I am informed that through the smart farmer application, the NDE will be injecting about four hundred and ninety thousand new jobs into the economy in the next three years. I am very proud to announce that the NDE in its consistent strides towards mass employment creation has concluded plans to commission two new small scale businesses that will.”
Speaking earlier, the acting Director General of the NDE, Kunle Obayan, observed: “Over the years, efforts had been made to reposition agriculture as the major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria.
He said: “The economic recession we are currently experiencing is indicative of the fact that e have not succeeded in our quest to give agriculture its pride of place it has become glaring in the face of dwindling revenue from oil, that Nigeria has no option than to maximise the massive agricultural potentials across the length and breadth of this naturally endowed nation.”
Obayan held: “ICT driven concept will encourage young Nigerians to get involved in agricultural activities. He maintained that ineffective application of science and technology has robbed Nigeria of the boundless benefits agriculture holds.
“One of the factors that militated against previous attempts at putting agriculture in the driving seat of our national economy had been the inability of policy implementers to get young Nigerians sufficiently involved in agriculture as a viable business,” Obayan stated.