Okwe Obi, Abuja
A new lease of life may be coming the way of young Nigerians, as the Federal Government, has hinted that the last tranche of the $174.85million supported by the African Development Bank (AFDB), would be used to train over 40, 000 of them on agricultural value chain to reduce poverty, generate employment and create wealth.
National Programme Coordinator of Agriculture Transformation Agenda Support Programme Phase 1(ATASP-1), Ibrahim Arabi, who spoke yesterday at a media parley in Abuja, said the fund which was released in 2015, was partly used to empower 200 rural communities, 33 local governments areas in Anambra, Enugu Niger, Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi and Sokoto States, respectively.
He said: “The task before the new leadership is to quickly complete the remaining social infrastructure and fast track total investment of the economic infrastructure; irrigation facilities and rural feeders roads as well as train 40, 000 youths in various value chain activities before the end of the program in 2020.”
“The AFDB in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development developed ATASP-1, which has adopted a holistic approach to tackling the challenges confronting agriculture in Nigeria. This partnership is funding ATASP-1 to the tune of $174.85 million including grant facility.
Arabi explained that since ATASP-’s inception, the scheme has trained over “20,000 farmers and processors including women and youths on Good Autonomic Practice (GAP) and food processing across the four zones.”
He claimed that, “over 50 per cent of the beneficiaries have adopted the improved technologies introduced in respect of production, processing and post-harvest handling of rice, sorghum and cassava.
“Social infrastructures such as boreholes, clinics, schools, markets, Ventilated Improved Pit Toilets (VIPs), incinerators and technology development centres, are about 80 per cent completion, while bids for the economic infrastructure like irrigation facilities and rural feeder roads have been sent out last July and implementation will soon commence.”