From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Nonprofit Yiaga Africa expressed excitement on Tuesday when the Kaduna State Government announced that it has put in place all necessary mechanism to begin the training of 5,000 youths annually for five years on agricultural projects.
The agricultural programme is designed for youths in the age bracket of 18 to 35, who will be equipped with starter packs at the end of the training programme.
Speaking at a one day programme on “Policy Dialogue on Gender Responsive Budgeting in Kaduna State” organised by Yiaga Africa, Director of Finance and Account, Ministry of Agriculture, Yahaya Saidu, said the programme would cost the state government millions of naira.
‘The training programme is on course, it will soon take effect. Kaduna State is the only state in the country that has launched this Agricultural policy.
‘We call on the youths to participate in the programme and use technology to develop agriculture. Nowadays people can farm even at their backyard or corridors.
‘Any country without food sufficient is in crisis, so we encourage full participation in agricultural project to reduce crimes in the society and boost our food production.
‘We have extension workers in the 250 wards in the state to pass information on our agricultural programme throughout the state right from the senatorial zones.’
However, most participants at the event called for improved publicity on the agricultural programme for the awareness to trickle to the grassroots.
Earlier, Kaduna State Coordinator of Yiaga Africa Isaac Gwani informed that the organisation had always provided opportunity for youths to be engaged in socio-economic activities of the country.
Gwani noted that insecurity has affected most activities in the last few years in the state, and advised youths to develop excellent ideas first, after which they can find solution to financial challenges.
Yiaga Africa Programme Director Olaniyan Sanusi, ex-raying the Kaduna State 2021 budget of recovery, noted that ‘the 2021 budget of Kaduna State prioritises allocation to the social sector and positions the agricultural programmes as a vehicle to empower young persons. One of the projects that has the highest allocation and focused on youths is the agro processing productivity, enhancement and livelihood project.
‘Also, situating school projects within the safe school initiative would be vital. This would not only address the exposure of schools to the activities of bandits and kidnappers but also help to keep young people in school as well reverse the trend of out of school children.’
According to the organisers, ‘the policy dialogue is part of Yiaga Africa and ActionAid Nigeria’s implementation of the Youth Organising and Leadership (YOL) project. The Youth Organising and Leadership project is a three-year project funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) to mobilise young people Youth Focus on Service Delivery in Nigeria (Youth Organising and their organisations for progressive social change.’