The Presidential Amnesty Office has deployed 500 ex-agitators in the National Bio-resources Centre, Odi, Bayelsa State, to train in advanced farming methods.
The beneficiaries will be trained in the application of verified scientific technologies to increase yields in crop and animal farming.
Speaking at the launch of the training at the National Bio-resources Centre, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (retd), described investments in agriculture as key and imperative to the country’s national and economic growth.
He said: “Today’s economic realities remind us of what we have taken for granted and how with dedication and focus, we can turn the tide, using agriculture as the harbinger of economic greatness. It is not enough to clamour for diversification of the economy, we must walk the talk by raising a young generation, which envisage agriculture as a viable business platform and is willing to push the frontiers.’’
Boroh said the programme would engender an atmosphere in the Niger Delta where youths could embrace commercial agriculture to reduce unemployment, thereby increasing food security and production.
He added: “The rich bio-diversity of the Niger Delta provides opportunities to explore the agricultural value chain production. We must take steps to become a giant in agro-allied businesses.’’
Director-General of the centre Prof. Lucy Ogbadu hailed the Amnesty Office for taking the initiative to send its delegates to the centre for the advanced agricultural training.
Said he: “We are a centre dedicated to excellence with the required manpower to train entrepreneurs in agriculture by utilising the knowledge in contemporary farming methodology to give an edge to today’s farmer.’’
Ogbadu said the youth should use the acquired knowledge and skills acquired to improve their lives and impact on the society.
Coordinator of the training centre Mr. Josiah Habu stressed the capability of the centre to train agricultural entrepreneurs in fields where science had improved production.
He said agriculture would bail the nation out of recession and hoped the youth would be a success slogan for the government’s campaign on agriculture.
The delegates will be trained in advanced methods in mushroom cultivation, fisheries, snail and grass cutter farming.
Other areas include poultry technology and crop farming.
Agricultural empowerment tools/equipment will be given to beneficiaries at the end of training.