James Sowole in Akure

In pursuance of the federal government’s renewed commitment to using agriculture as a means of empowering the youths, the Federal College of Agriculture, Akure (FECA) has trained unemployed graduates, practicing farmers and other stakeholders.

The vocational training, which drew participants from 10 states, involved 350 trainees in the first category.

In the first category, participants were trained in poultry and fishery, while subsequent exercises would involve imparting knowledge in cassava production and value chain and other agricultural practices in commercial scale.

The participants in the first batch of the training were drawn from Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Enugu, Delta, Kwara, Kogi and Nasarawa States.

Speaking at the occasion, the FECA Provost, Dr. Adeola Odedina said the response received through online registration showed that a lot of people have decided to cross the poverty line through various agricultural practices and vocations.

Odedina said the participants included those who have earlier obtained various degrees outside agriculture in the university and assured the trainees that their lives would not be the same again after their exposure to to what he described as money making proven opportunities in agriculture.

“The college’s past trainees and present practitioners in cassava, poultry, fisheries, agricultural mechanisation, food processing and agricultural value addition have case studies and success stories of how they are now near billionaires and are making descent money in these areas.

“Demands have being created and gaps in supply have not been met in these areas. Profitability and demand for these products and related services are real and not in doubt.”

The provost, who stressed the importance of training before going into agriculture, said the success of anyone depends on the level of training received.

“The first step to be taken by individuals seeking to take advantage of opportunities in agriculture is training. When people are either not properly trained or not trained at all, they rush into agriculture and rush out to spread false information about the profitability of agricultural opportunities.”

He thanked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Audu Ogbeh for the programme, saying that the initial plan was to train only 300 participants, but when the registration was so high, the minister gave permission that it should be extended for the second, third and fourth batches.

Speaking at the event, the Branch Head of Bank of Agriculture (BOA) in Ondo State, Mrs. Mariam Obada said the programme was an initiative of the federal government to tackle youth unemployment in the country.

She said the BOA would assist the trainees under the Federal Government/Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Scheme.

Under the scheme, Obada said rather than giving cash to trainees, each of them would be addressed with agricultural inputs and small money to pay for labour when they start their own businesses.

She therefore admonished participants to take the training with all seriousness as their performances would determine what they get from the bank.