Agric Map

The Federal Government of Nigeria through the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) said it was targeting about 740,000 market oriented young agricultural producers in the rural areas.

According to the government, YEAP will also benefit 20,000 school leavers and rural youth leaders in each state of the federation.

President Muhammadu Buhari who spoke at the weekend through the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Arc Sonny Echono at the Green River Plant (GRP) Propagation Centre in Obie, Ogba/Egbema/ Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State during the 19th Farmers Day Celebration organised by the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), said that YEAP will additionally develop 18,500 university graduates into young agribusiness entrepreneurs called “nagropreneurs”.

He said these will in turn “develop businesses along the entire agricultural value chains, from the farm, storage, processing and value addition, financial services and logistics.”

He pointed out that the FG in conjunction with the States would support the “nagropreneurs” with access to technical, entrepreneurial, finance, business and marketing skills as well as with access to land, loans, inputs and linked to markets and mentorship.

He also said that the FG has mapped out another programme called Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprises (AEHEs) across the country with a total of 80 AEHEs ready deployed in the first phase across the nation make agriculture less drudgery.

Buhari who took time to explain the various programmes the FG has mapped out to make the agricultural sector very attractive to both Nigerians at home and in Diaspora also commended the NAOC for the establishment of a multi faceted laboratory which is at the centre of  intervention here and for setting up the GRP which he said are in line with the new national agricultural drive.

He expressed gladness with NAOC for organising the farmers’ day which brought many farmers from the company’s operational states of Imo, Rivers, Bayelsa, and Delta States and cutting across about 120 communities from these states.

In his speech, the Chairman of NAOC, Mr Ciro Antonio Pagano explained that the objective of GRP is to “expose communities to techniques of modern farming and provide them with the necessary supports and tools that can assist them transform the vast land and swamp  resources of the states into good economic value.”

Managing Director of NAOC, Mr Massimo Insulla listed out the achievements the company has recorded since 1999 under the GRP till date adding that this informed the decision of the NAOC to align “this year’s Farmer’s day with the international exhibition, EXPO Milano 2015, holding in Milan, Italy from over 140 countries” with the same theme with that of Obie.

Insulla also expressed hope that the GRP  would become “a pivot for the development of the agricultural sector in Nigeria, serving as a major platform for knowledge sharing for farmers, academia, public extension services and agro allied industry where new agricultural techniques, ideas and products are exchanged  and plenty opportunities created.”

The General Manager District of NAOC, Engr. Paolo Carnevale in hois welcome address said that the objective of establishing the GRP which is basically to pursue food security and improve livelihood in the company’s host communities has been achieved as about 35,000 farmers have been reached while 225 cooperatives societies have also been set up.

By Pita Ochai

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