No fewer than 50 farmers and extension agents have been trained and empowered in Kwara State on resilient practice in cassava production, with a view to boosting food production in the country.
The training was sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in partnership with the Kwara State Government.
The capacity building workshop, tagged “Emergency Empowerment and Demonstration of Climate Change Resilient Practice in Cassava Production and Empowerment of Farmers and Extension Agents in the North-West, North-East and North-Central Region”, was held at the Kwara State Agricultural Development Project (ADP) Office in Ilorin.
Speaking at the training session, the Kwara State Field Office Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Aliyu Issa Kabir disclosed that part of the mandate of the Ministry is to ensure robust development of agriculture through various training and empowerment initiatives for both youths and women in the sector across the country.
According to him, the workshop is one of the series of training lined up for the year, pointing out that the Ministry had earlier this year organized trainings on soya bean and yam production.
The current hardship in the country, Kabir noted, necessitated the need to empower our teeming youths, in order to improve the output of the existing farmers and encourage more people to embrace farming as a business.
Dr. Kabir disclosed further that the empowerment would be in kind and partly cash for the beneficiaries as a start up to spur them, and encourage others to see the potential of agriculture as the only sector with the capacity to employ substantial number of citizens of the country.
In his brief remarks, the Director of Agriculture Services, Kwara State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mallam Alhassan Kabir Mohammed assured farmers that the present administration, under the leadership of Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, would continue to prioritize people-oriented projects and programmes especially for farmers and the downtrodden among residents of the state.
He urged the participants not to sell the items with a view to assisting the state government to realize its aim of achieving food security in the country.
In his contribution, the State Chairman, Nigerian Cassava Growers Association, Engr. Gabriel Fasanu appreciated the efforts of the organizers of the programme, adding that the training has broadened the knowledge of members of the association to achieve breakthroughs in their businesses.
Fasanu, however, appealed to government at all levels to clear more land for farming activities and ensure proper funding of the sector, which he described as the catalyst of industrialization in any country.
In her welcome address, the Managing Director, Kwara ADP, Dr. Khadijat Ahmed said the participants were carefully selected to ensure that only the real farmers benefitted from the empowerment scheme.
Dr. Ahmed, however, used the occasion to inform the farmers that the extension agents would monitor how they manage those items on their farm.