In its determination to reduce the level of youth unemployment, the Federal Government has plans to empower 740,000 market-oriented young Agricultural producers in rural areas under Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP).
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Shehu Ahmed disclosed this while delivering his keynote address at a one – day Stakeholders Workshop on Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) in Abuja.
The Permanent Secretary who was represented by the Director, Animal Production and Husbandry Services, Dr. (Mrs.) Egejuru Eze 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. According to the Permanent Secretary, the beneficiaries of the project would comprise of 20,000 school leavers and rural youth leaders from each state of the federation.
He 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.
Dr. Ahmed stated that 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.
He commended the efforts of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for providing assistance to the ministry in strengthening the capacities of implementers of YEAP in the six pilot states and solicited for an expansion of the programmes to cover more states of the federation.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director, Extension Services in the ministry, Mr.Rufus Alphonsus Onwuemeka explained that the workshop was aimed at creating a forum where key stakeholders under the FAO-assisted programme meet and brainstorm on how to properly implement the YEAP in their respective states to achieve results.
In her goodwill message, 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.
Ms. Setshwaelo disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) joined forces in 2012, to design and implement the National Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) in order to provide necessary skills and opportunities for both young women and men have equal access to decent jobs.
She reiterated the commitment of the FAO to continue collaborating with the Federal and State governments in the implementation of the YEAP programme for empowerment of the Nigerian youths.
Part of highlights of the workshop was the presentation of projectors, computers and accessories to some vocational training centres for youths in Bauchi, Imo, Katsina states among others.
Papers presented at the workshop include: Overview of the project: Objectives, Outcomes, Outputs and Activities; Modalities for project implementation and Roles of Stakeholders and Establishment of Institutions at state level.
Tony Ohaeri – Director, Information
February 22, 2016.