SMEDAN trains Bayelsa youths, women on agric-business  

By Shedrack Frank

The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) says it is training at least 150 youths and women on Agric-business Development Empowerment Programme (ADEP) in Bayelsa.
The Director-General of SMEDAN, Mr Olawale Fasanya,
said this at the formal opening of the training workshop on Tuesday in Yenagoa.

Fasanya said the training was designed to enhance the capacity of the participants in agric-business development. He also said that the National Agripreneurship Training Scheme (NATS) was designed to provide functional knowledge and skill upgrade to start-ups and existing cooperative societies.

Fasanya was represented at the event by the SMEDAN Manager in Bayelsa, Mr Uhoboso Abilo.
He said that commodity associations were engaged in agriculture value-chain to reinforce agriculture transformation in the state.

He said the programme comprised sensitisation/awareness creation, agripreneurship training and machinery support to cooperative societies.
He also said that the Product and Marketing Enhancement Scheme (PAMES) developed by SMEDAN assists those with market-ready products get regulatory certification.

“Those agripreneurs without market-ready products are hand helped to transit their businesses from production to product enhancement, local and international markets,” Fasanya said.
He said that the contribution of agriculture to Nigeria’s total export earnings was small compared to crude oil export.

He said that in 2019, agriculture accounted for less than two per cent of  the total Nigeria exports relative to crude oil with 76.5 per cent.
According to him, there are 256 agricultural cooperative societies, comprising 2,560 members in 16 states.

The states include Kwara, Zamfara, Taraba, Cross River, Ebonyi, Osun, Kebbi, Katsina, Jigawa, Enugu, Abia, Ondo, Ogun, Delta, Bauchi and Yobe.
He said the states have benefited from the programme since 2020.
He said the programme was taking place simultaneously in Bayelsa, Lagos and Oyo States and would hold in 12 other states.

The Commissioner for Labour, Employment and Productivity, Mr Stanley Braboke, urged the participants to take the training seriously.
Braboke said the Bayelsa Government was ready to partner with SMEDAN for the benefit of the youths and women of the state.
“Do not look down on the training for so many persons have been successful from it.

“You can start small and then allow it to grow to your expectations,” he said.
The Branch Manager, National Agriculture Corporation Bank, Mr Suowari Tombra, said SMEDAN was striving to harness the agricultural potentials to uplift every Nigerian households.
He said agriculture was the only business civil servants were allowed by law to engage in and urged them to put in their best.
Tombra said that agriculture business, most times, attract loans or grants from government, hence many people are moving into agriculture. (NAN)