Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
The Buhari administration has engaged several means of tackling unemployment in the country including training of youths on various skills including value chain training and empowerment on mushrooms and ginger production in communities across the country.
The Chairman of the Governing Board of the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Gen Garba Mohammed, who made the assertion in a goodwill message at a training programme in Delta State, noted that the training was part of initiatives of the Federal Government aimed at “employment generation and economic empowerment” across the country.
The message was presented during a five-day training and empowerment programme on mushroom and ginger cultivation and processing designed for unemployed and other youths in Kwale in Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State.
The exercise, which is a joint effort between the member representing Ndokwa/Ukwuani federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon Ossai Nicholas Ossai and the Federal Government through the National Horticultural Research Institute, was conducted across the three council areas with beneficiaries from Ukwuani Local Government Area captured in the concluding training sessions held in Kwale.
Chief Executive Officer, National Horticultural Research Institute, Dr Abayomi A. Olaniyan, in his welcome address stressed that “a lot of opportunities exist in the ginger value chain” from planting and processing to exporting, noting that demand for the mushrooms and processed ginger has grown steadily in recent time due to their values in food, beverage, pharmaceutical and other industries locally and internationally.
He noted that the NIHORT “has the mandate to conduct research into genetic improvement, production, processing, utilization and marketing of fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants and spices”, saying that “mushrooms and ginger are important mandate crops of the Institute.”
According to Dr Olaniyan, who was represented by the director of training, Mr Afolayan Stephen Olaoye, “Mushroom cultivation can help reduce vulnerability to poverty and strengthen livelihoods through the generation of fast yielding and nutritious source of food and a reliable source of income.
“Mushroom cultivation provides opportunities for improving the sustainability of small farming systems through the recycling of organic matter, which can be used as a growing substrate, and then returned to the land as fertilizer.
“Similarly ginger, which is a spice crop, is one of the commercial crops produced in Nigeria that can serve as the major source of income to the country. Ginger can be processed into a wide variety of products such as ginger powder, ginger oil and oleoresin. The Nigerian ginger varieties are acclaimed to be of superior quality and outstanding flavour and a product of preference in international market.”
Also speaking, the special assistant to Hon Ossai on Strategy and Media, Mr Chibuzo Okereke, commended the exercise, saying, “Hon Ossai wants to bring representation home by ensuring that human capital in Ndokwa Nation is improved through direct investment in the people.”
Aside certificates and training in basic accounting and book keeping, the beneficiaries also received starter-packs and ‘seed money’ meant to enable them begin small scale businesses in their respective areas of interest.
Some of the beneficiaries who spoke to THISDAY yesterday in Kwale expressed desire to bid goodbye to unemployment by putting to use the knowledge and skill they acquired during the five-day training, while thanking Hon Ossai and the Federal Government for the opportunity.