One hundred Nigerian youths from each of the six geo-political zones of the country each are to benefit from the technical interventions and empowerment program by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure.
This is as the agency, on Monday in Birnin Kebbi, the Kebbi State capital, commenced the implementation of a presidential directive on the introduction of modern techniques into farming and all agricultural practices.
The directive, according to a statement signed by the agency’s Deputy Director, Information, Mr Olusegun Ayeoyenikan, was issued by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to the Executive Vice Chairman NASENI, Prof Mohammed Haruna.
The statement quoted Haruna as saying, at the commencement programme, that the “exercise was a mission accomplished and a sign of the seriousness of the administration to empower youths and also to lift Nigeria’s agriculture away from mere subsistence.”
He said all the developed countries of the world began with agriculture and later became great because they introduced modern techniques, science and innovations into the practice in their journey to industrialisation.
The Chairman of the occasion who also is the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, was also quoted as saying that the President was determined to tackle the high rate of youth unemployment, poverty, and especially food insecurity.
He said, “The target of 100 youths per geo-political zone of the country was essential to take the youth off the streets, address youth restiveness and increase food security and the introduction of modern farming practices in form of quick adaptation of modern technology in order to make agriculture very attractive to young people.”
He said the North West geo-political zone of the country was chosen for the introduction of modern farming because it was known for farming as a general occupation.
The focus of the program by the Federal Government, according to Malami “is against the background that 70% of Nigerian youths and workforce live in the rural areas and therefore targeting them with new farm implements and techniques by NASENI was like putting a round peg in a round hole”, noting that, “the exercise is one of the most pragmatic program of the Federal government aimed at the diversification of the economy and also targeting reduction of unnecessary rural-urban migration.”
The Kebbi Statae Governor, Atiku Bagudu, welcomed the exercise, saying there was no better time to focus on agriculture than now.
He said, “Being the host state for the ongoing rice revolution in the country, this program was a clear evidence of the desire to transform the country through the use of science, technology and innovation.
“There is no better time to focus on agriculture than now and the only leader who could redirect the focus of the country to agriculture is President Muhammadu Buhari.”
Some of the equipment and farming implements fabricated by NASENI which were handed over to the trainees included seed planting machine, water pump machine, irrigation machine and insecticide spraying machine amongst others.