The Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan and Sen. Kola Balogun (Oyo South Senatorial District) on Monday began a three-day training on different agricultural value chain for youths and farmers.
Speaking at the programme in Ibadan, Balogun said that diversifying the national economy to other sources such as agriculture was germane in such a time.
The training is meant for 120 youths and farmers from Oyo South district.
He said that through agriculture, people, especially unemployed ones, could be self-employed, self-sufficient and even employers of labour.
He said the training aimed to create more jobs and reduce the rate of unemployment in the country.
Balogun urged the participants to make most use of the opportunity to achieve the aim of the programme.
“The training is free, you will be given cash and the necessary knowledge to stand on your own at the end.
“So be focused because low interest loans will be made available for those who will be serious after the programme,” he said.
Also speaking, the IAR&T Executive Director, Prof. Veronica Obatolu, said the goal was to equip youths with the knowledge, skills in agricultural value chains needed to improve the economy and ensure food security.
Obatolu said a lot of opportunities existed in the agricultural sector while this should be the time when youth should take agriculture as a business and tap into its unending resources.
She said the training cut across the value chains of maize, melon, soybean, mushroom, cowpea, rabbitry, snailery, sheep, fisheries and poultry.
She said as a multi-commodity research institute, the ultimate goal of IAR&T was to enhance the quality and productivity of food crops, fibre and livestock, to reduce hunger, generate employment and alleviate poverty.
In this regard, Obatolu said the institute developed crop-based and livestock-based technologies of varying nutritional and industrial importance.
She said that the technologies had been disseminated to farmers and deployed to the training of many youths and emerging agricultural entreprenuers.
“The institute at different periods collaborated with many partners in executing training, empowerment projects targeted at youths, women, farmers and other stakeholders.
“Under these projects different stakeholders benefitted hands-on training in agricultural enterprise with incentives given in form of starter packs with beneficiaries from Southwest and beyond.
“Notably among these are many constituency-sponsored projects of the national assembly and donor agencies,” Obatolu said.
She appreciated Balogun for representing his constituency through facilitating federal presence and giving dividends of democracy back to his people.
Also, one of the Training Coordinators, Mr Emmanuel Omenna, commended IAR&T and Balogun for putting smiles on the faces of people, especially the unemployed ones.
“It takes a senator that is wise to invest on his people,” he said. (NAN)