Written by Sarah NEGEDU

FG to empower 740,000 youth through agric-business

The federal government has shown interest in carrying on with the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme, YEAP, introduced by former President Goodluck Jonathan, with a plan to empower 740,000 Nigerians through the programme.

The YEAP programme which was launched in December 2014, aims at creating more employment in the agriculture sector, by making agriculture more attractive for the Nigerian youths.

Information from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development indicates that 740,000 market-oriented young agricultural producers in rural areas under the YEAP arrangement would be empowered to grow the agriculture value chain.

According to the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Shehu Ahmed, the beneficiaries of the project would also comprise of 20,000 school leavers and rural youth leaders from each state of the federation.

He said the programme which was aimed to cover the 36 states of the federation and FCT had commenced with six pilot states selected from the six geopolitical zones including Bauchi, Imo, Katsina, Lagos, Niger, and Rivers states.

Ahmed, who disclosed this at a stakeholders’ workshop on YEAP, further explained that YEAP would develop additional 18,500 university graduates who would be formed into young agribusiness entrepreneurs called “Nagropreneurs” that would develop business along the entire agricultural value chain ranging from the farm, storage, processing, value addition, marketing services and logistics.

The permanent secretary, who was represented by the director, Animal Production and Husbandry Services, Dr. Egejuru Eze, said the beneficiaries of the YEAP programme would enjoy supports from the federal and state governments in areas of access to land, technical, entrepreneurial, financial business and marketing skills as well as links to major agribusinesses that would provide market and mentorship.

In her address, the FAO Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Louise Setshwaelo, said youths are one of the greatest assets Nigeria could take advantage of to take poverty out of the country.

Setshwaelo disclosed that the ministry of agriculture and the FAO joined forces in 2012 to design and implement the YEAP in order to provide necessary skills and opportunities for both young women and men have equal access to decent jobs.

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