The Anambra Government says it will provide support for the 250 beneficiaries of the FADAMA III Programme’s youths and women empowerment scheme in the state.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Afam Mbanefo, said this on Monday at the opening of the training at Anambra State Polytechnic, Mgbakwu, Awka North Local Government Area.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the beneficiaries are currently receiving training in various aspects of agricultural production in three centres across the state.
Mbanefo, who expressed concern over the ageing farming population, said that the assistance in the areas of capacity building and business development would be given to the beneficiaries to ensure that they stayed in the business.
He urged the trainees to make the best use of the opportunity provided for them by FADAMA and the state government, while viewing it as a way of overcoming the current economic hardships.
“We are very logical with what we are doing and the government is working towards making you imbibe the ethics that will make our people begin to see the need to embrace agriculture.
“Facts available at our e-agriculture centre show that only 25 per cent of our farmers fall within the under-40 age bracket, while the ages of about 75 per cent of the farmers range between 40 and 80 years.
“What that means is that in 20 years time, our farming population would be tired.
“This is an opportunity for us to take over; you have not come to grab money but to feed our people and make money.
“The FADAMA project has a strong structure and we shall follow it up.
“The moment you are getting to this programme, we will hold your hands and make sure that we provide you with extension services, back you up by providing provide linkages, off-takers and all that you need to succeed.
“The trainers will go beyond the curriculum and give you the best,” he said.
He urged the participants to take the training seriously, assuring them that it would enhance their wellbeing.
The State FADAMA Project Coordinator, Mr Chucks Egbue, said that the beneficiaries were selected after a rigorous screening of over 450 applications.
Egbue said that other centres in the state included Nwafor Orizu College of Education and Federal College of Education, Technical (FCET), Umunze, with 75 trainees each, while 100 persons were receiving training at Mgbakwu.
He said that the trainees would receive training in animal husbandry, crop production, business development and public relations, among others, to boost their capacity to engage in agricultural ventures. (NAN)