FG launches Graduate Farmers’ Empowerment Scheme.

The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, has inaugurated the Graduate Youth Empowerment Scheme in Doma, Nasarawa State, to train young graduates in agricultural entrepreneurial skills.

Adamu, while inaugurating the scheme on Wednesday at the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority project site in Doma, Nasarawa State, said it was a pilot initiative aimed at revitalising the river basins.

He said that the scheme, already being inaugurated in seven out of the 12 River Basin Development Authorities in the country, was aimed at boosting agricultural production through all year round farming.

He explained that through the scheme, graduates would be trained in various agricultural activities including horticulture, aquaculture, animal husbandry, vegetable and cereal cultivation, food processing, packaging and marketing and extension services.

The minister added that the training, which would be in batches of 50 each, would soon be extended to all the senatorial zones of the country with a view to empowering the youth, guarantee food security, create wealth and diversify the economy.

According to the minister, beneficiaries of the scheme will be subsequently empowered through other government intervention programmes to establish their own agricultural ventures.

He said “this will go a long way to create a multiplier effect to further sustain the objectives of the programme, with the attendant positive impact on the economy through improved food production and employment generation.”

He urged the beneficiaries to properly utilise the inherent potential in the programme for their socio-economic advancement.

He maintained that the scheme would provide an opportunity for the youth to make giant strides away from idleness and poverty and enable them to become leading agricultural entrepreneurs.

He appealed to the government within the locality of the scheme to provide maximum support to the scheme through active participation in operation, maintenance and management.

Earlier, Mr Ovey Angbazo, the Managing Director, Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority, said the training of the graduate farmers would be in collaboration with the Nasarawa State Ministry of Agriculture and other agricultural institutes.

He challenged the beneficiaries to devote their time and talents to the opportunity provided by the programme in order to better their lot.

He said each participant would be provided with one hectare of land and inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and agrochemicals for the duration of their training.