…Programme aims to ensure food security
In an effort to ensure food security in the country, an organisation called Hope Farmers Movement with a mission to put Imo State back in its position as one of the food basket states in Nigeria, has trained over 500 farmers in different aspects of agriculture in the state.
Innocent Dike, state chairman, Cocoa and Plantain Farmers Association of Nigeria, CEO Smartfield and Agro Services as well as director general, Hope Farmers Movement, said that those who were trained included, men, women and youths. He said they were trained in mushroom, plantain value chain and livestock management, fisheries, crops and other aspects of agriculture.
The director general said that the training was aimed at enhancing the living standard of people and encouraging them to go into many lucrative areas of agriculture.
Apart from food security and the creation of job opportunities especially for the teeming population, he said that the participants gained skills transfer, how to market their goods, contacts to enable them to market their farm or food chain products and other various business exposures.
He also disclosed that some captains of industry from the South East, South-South and other geopolitical zones of the country graced the training which he said “was a huge success.”
He also noted that the skills the participants acquired during the training would enable over 500, men, women and youths, to not only improve on the means of their livelihood but also help in poverty alleviation and revenue generation.
Dike, who noted the relevance and importance of women in farming, said, “Our intention is to make these women enter into commercial farming so we structured it in such a way that 60 percent of empowerment goes to women, 30 percent to youths and 10 percent to adult; empowering a woman you have saved a community.”
He advised the participants to go back to the land and contribute immensely to food production and food sufficiency, stressing further that the need to address food security, hunger and poverty is the reason for the programme.
He also urged them to embrace agriculture especially mushroom, plantain, banana farming and livestock rearing to enable them to become self-reliant.
“I encourage you attendees, to venture into this type of farming in order to benefit from all the agricultural programmes rolled out by the 3R-led government,” Dike advised.
Dike also pointed out some challenges encountered when one starts farming, especially women due to the right to own land, where he said that, in most cases, they are not allowed to inherit the land and that this is a “major setback to the majority of them who want to go into commercial farming.
“And part of our advocacy is that the government should assist in acquiring land for our farmers so that they can diversify into commercial farming with proper negotiation, communities and their traditional rulers can provide massive land for us to achieve this food sufficiency, youths with the required strength must passionately get involved,” he said.
Commending Governor Hope Uzodimma for encouraging farming, Dike expressed gratitude for the unwavering support and attention the government has shown in the area of agriculture ranging from incentives to grants given to Imo farmers as support.
“This motivated me to form a support group in conjunction with shared prosperity government because agriculture has become a vital sector of the economy,” he said.
The Special Adviser on Agriculture to the Governor, Chris Washington Igbozuruike, on behalf of the Governor thanked the convener for training 500 women and youths and the target of 2000 before December, saying it would lead to a food boom in the state.
According to SA, the governor had through the Ministry of Agriculture created various programmes that “enable farmers to easily get grants for their small, medium and large farming. This will push a great number of people into farming again; I encourage you to use this opportunity very well because the government has promised to provide all that is needed to commercialise this type of farming.”