Unemployment: ITF to Establish Demonstration Farms to Boost Agricultural Training

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By Seriki Adinoyi

In order to drive the federal government’s efforts in developing the agricultural value chain for job and wealth creation, and ensure food security, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has concluded plans to identify arable lands owned by the Fund to establish demonstration farms, which will be used for the training of extension workers and youths nationwide.

This was disclosed on Tuesday in a statement signed by Suleyol Fred Chagu, Head of Public Relations of ITF.

Chagu said that the demonstration farm is just a part of a wider plan of the Fund’s continued efforts to improve its service delivery and facilitate the actualization of its mandate of equipping Nigerians with requisite skills for employment.

According to her, the Fund has concluded arrangements to begin the implementation of its second phase of its plan, christened ‘ITF Reviewed Vision: Strategies for Mandate Actualization’ of which the farm is just a part.

The first phase of the plan, which was implemented between 2016 and early 2020, according to the statement, equipped over 500,000 Nigerians with skills, 70 per cent of which are now gainfully employed or are successful entrepreneurs.

She said that the Director General of the Fund, Mr Joseph Ari, while unveiling the plan during an engagement with top management of the Fund, said he was expecting ‘100 per cent homegrown’, targeted at rectifying the pitfalls observed in the implementation of the first phase, while also seeking to build on the achievements of the first phase and support the initiatives of the federal government, especially in the agricultural sector.

Chagu explained further that: “The DG disclosed that the plan, which implementation will commence immediately and terminate in 2024, will focus on nine key areas of the Fund’s activities namely: Direct Training Services, Revenue Generation and Sustainable Funding, Resource Utilization, Special Intervention Programmes, Human Capital Development, Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES), Research and Development, Automation of Business Processes and other Programmes/Services.”

Under the Direct Training Services, which is the core mandate of the Fund, the DG said the ITF would focus on curriculum development, E-Learning, consultancy services, standardization and certification, re-engineering business development support (BDS) services for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), technical and vocational skills programmes, certification of apprentices, technicians and craftsmen as well as performance and productivity improvement training, while training programmes will be developed for the maritime and oil and gas sectors that were hitherto not given priority attention by the Fund.

To ensure that requisite infrastructure is in place for the expected rise in activities, the DG said: “The ITF has concluded arrangements for the procurement of three additional mobile training units and will establish vocational wings in area offices in Awka, Maiduguri, Port Harcourt, Akure, Gusau and Minna, which will train Nigerians in needed trades in their locale,” adding that “efforts will also be stepped up towards repositioning the Centre for Excellence in Jos for effective service delivery.