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300 beneficiaries of Abia govt-sponsored agro training arrive Nassarawa

Governor Alex Otti of Abia State. | File Image

Otti poised to build capacity in Abia agri space – Ajagba

By Emeka Njoku

Three hundred beneficiaries of a fully sponsored programme in agriculture by the Abia State government have arrived the CSS Global Farms, Nasarawa State, for a two-week training.

This is as Pastor Caleb Ajagba, Chief of Staff to the Governor reiterated Governor Alex Otti’s commitment to upscale agriculture productivity in the state.

Recall that few weeks ago, the state overnment had organised a capacity-building seminar for the first batch of the 300 candidates selected for the training.

The founder of CSS Global Integrated Farms, Prof. John-Kennedy Opara, had in a presentation titled, “Agricultural Development and Food Security – the Path to Human and Capital Resources Development”, said that God had destined Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, to lay a solid foundation in Abia, upon which those after him will build.

Also read: Otti marks anniversary, hails Abians for embracing new order

In a brief admonition to the beneficiaries before their departure on Friday morning from Umuahia, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Pastor Caleb Ajagba, charged the trainees to take the programme seriously, reminding them that they were going to learn and not on a jamboree or site seeing.

“The Government has paid for each of the 300 beneficiaries going to CSS Farms, and you would be exposed to all forms of mechanised farming and the entire value chain of agriculture.

“You are going there to learn, not on a jamboree, not on a site-seeing, not just to make up the number of those who are going there,” Ajagba said.

He reminded the beneficiaries that they were representing Abia State, having gone through a thorough screening process from the Ward to State levels.

The Chief of Staff explained that the training was in line with the vision of the Governor to make sure that every Abian is taken care of, especially the youth population.

He described the training programme as a lifetime opportunity for those of them that understand the reason they are going there.

“This is a lifetime opportunity for those of you who understand the reason why you are going there. For each of you, Government has paid money in hundreds of thousands of Naira for you to be there for just two weeks.

“It’s a golden opportunity that many Abians would have loved to have and you are the first set of people that are going there,” he said.

Ajagba explained further that knowledge acquisition is the best form of empowerment, pointing out that if you give somebody one million Naira to start up a business and the person does not have the requisite business skills and knowledge, he or she will end up squandering the money.

According to him, beneficiaries will be given specific grants in several of the areas they are trained in terms of cash, farm implements and other supports needed to start.

Adding his voice to counsel the trainees, Dr Cliff Agbaeze, Special Adviser to the governor on Agriculture, in his address made available to the media, urged them to be fully committed in the programme as the first lucky set.

He said that the training programme would involve both classroom and practical sessions, covering the key areas of ”Leadership skill development in agribusiness, entrepreneurship skill development in agribusiness, fish farming, poultry production and management ruminant nutrition and fattening, vegetable production in greenhouse, vegetable production in hydroponics, and a host other specialized skills.

”In addition, participants will be provided with customized tablet PC with sim slot (as take home).”

Agbaeze, in his presentation, explained further the government’s expectation from the programme to include:

1. raising new farmers/incubatees in all the LGAs across the state.

2. the incubatees will, in turn, become new incubators to train other new farmers, and the multiplier continues, creating a network of incubators/incubatees across several agricultural value chains.

3. Onboarding of the graduates on the newly introduced Nigerian Youth Investment Fund with a take-off funding of N110billion upon

4. Creation of a new cluster of youth farmers engaged in various areas of modern agriculture.

5. Creation of new farming clusters across the LGAs/Zones which will ultimately become ready suppliers of feed stock for Agro-Industrial hubs/processors in the State.

6. Boost agricultural production – enough food to feed Abians and make us food self-reliant and secure.

7. Reduction in crime and criminality as more of our youths are gainfully employed.

8. And many more economic and social benefits.”

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