• Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Graduating agripreneur sees goldmine in agric sector

Nigeria’s agric investment hits lowest in 6yrs

The Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA) has just graduated a set of hard-trained agripreneurs and the representative of the trainees says he has seen the key to Nigeria’s agric development.

Amade told BusinessDay at Kpong deep in Kaani, Khana LGA area of Rivers State, the grant system to graduates and school leavers would turn Nigeria into an agro-economic zone of the world.

He said: “I consider myself extremely privileged because over the years, I have nursed many ideas that did not materialise, now, there is much motivation. They are telling us how to overcome some challenges. We now know that there is a value chain; if you cannot participate in farming because of land, you can go to processing or marketing, or service delivery.

“If the FG can introduce grants to school leavers to go into agric, it would boost the economy.”

Amade is one of the beneficiaries of the Graduate Youth Empowerment Scheme (GYES). He said resource persons from the NEPC also exposed them to the export end of their training.

He mentioned areas of their training such as piggery, snail farming, fishery, bee-keeping, black soldier keeping, mushroom farming, etc.

Read also: Agric import hits N512bn in third quarter

He said the graduating trainees looked forward to starter-packs valued N200,000 which may include stipend to run the businesses.

On whether he felt his colleagues actually intended to go into practical farming, Amade said: “Yes, a good number of persons are actually inspired. As the class rep, from my interactions with other trainees here, a good number are keen to fly. The timing is not too good because giving the money at this point in time may clash with the period of the year.

“I plead that they can give us mentorship follow up so that they keep into touch with us to monitor us and motivate us.

The NEPC team should please help us to go into processing such as crayfish. We hear that exporting involves a lot of quality assurance. We expect that the agencies can give capacity to process crayfish and other things found in this region to international standards, that would help us build up. He thus pleaded with the FG and state governments to use the grant approach to lure youths back to the farm and be close to them to make them succeed.”

Speaking on export opportunities in their training, the zonal coordinator of NEPC, Joe Itah, treated the topic; ‘Non-Oil Export as a Veritable Tool for Youth Empowerment and Economic Development: The NEPC Mandate.’

He let the trainees accept that white collar jobs have dwindled badly and when found does not pay much.

He reminded them that every Nigerian should now be a farmer because farming is now compulsory because it is the only venture a civil servant is permitted to undertake.

Itah however warned beginners that international market is ruthless, selective, and fiercely competitive. “Thus exporting is a process, not a dash.”