The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) says no fewer than 180 persons will benefit from agric-chain business under its Development and Empowerment Programme (ADEP) in Ebonyi.
Mr Hilary Okwor, Assistant Director, Agri-business Development and Extension of the agency, made the disclosure during a Post Training Visit to trainees in Abakaliki on Friday.
Okwor said that ADEP was designed to encourage youths and women to embrace agric-business development as well as ensuring food security and job creations in the country.
The director said that the 180 persons were selected across the 13 local government area of Ebonyi.
“The participants, who have undergone three phase of trainings, will be equipped with requisite skills needed to transit to modern agriculture practices.
“They have been taught how to develop agricultural value chain and ensure sustainable agricultural practices.
“And how to facilitate access to funding through Anchor Borrower Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“I am still urging them to produce because if you don’t have products, you will not benefit from the empowerment.
“Think of product you can venture into and learn more on packaging and branding to fit into market,” Okwor said.
Mr Chigozie Asochukwu, Ebonyi SMEDAN Manager, who said that agriculture was imperative to economic growth, urged the participants to make good use of what they had learnt.
“There is an issue of food insecurity that is already threatening the nation. This is a direct intervention in this direction through SMEDAN.
“I urge the trainees to embrace hard working, develop a good farming business, think more on packaging; Abakaliki Rice is selling around the country because of the repackaging,” Asochukwu said.
According to him, agriculture contributes 34 per cent of national GDP and directly employs over 30 per cent of the populace, including the vast majority of rural folks.
One of the participants, Mr Chris Oyesola, who is into poultry farming, commended the Federal Government on job creations and youth empowerment.
“We are happy with the Federal Government empowerment programmes but we need more financial assistance to develop and expand our knowledge, especially in the area of agriculture,” Oyesola said.