By Rotimi Famakin

As part of federal government efforts towards reducing unemployment and ending food shortage in the country, twenty eight youths who had undergone nine months intensive training on vegetable farming graduated in Ibadan.

The training scheme sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security was anchored by National Horticultural Research Institute’s training initiative tagged Horticultural Academy for Youths (HAY).

Addressing the gathering on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, the Executive Director, National Horticultural Research Institute, NIHORT, Dr Lawal Atanda said the programme was developed in line with the ministry’s budget earmarked for the training of youths to reduce unemployment and ensure food sufficiency.

Dr Atanda who said the youths had been trained in low land and upland farming were selected based on the local governments that are around the institute.

The NIHORT Executive Director while urging the youths to start the Agric business said NIHORT would not only be ready to offer assistance to the graduands in the next one year but would consider the youths as their adopted farmers.

In her overview of the Horticultural Academy for Youths (HAY) Programme, Coordinator of the training programme, Dr Olutola Oyedele explained that the institute under the federal government funding had earlier run the training programme across the geopolitical zones in the country.

Dr Oyedele who said as at 2019, twenty series of the training programme had so far been conducted by NIHORT targeting men, women and youth added that shift towards the youths was informed by the directive of the Executive Director last year as the farming population was aging out.

Dr Oyedele said the graduands who were the first set of the new scheme were not only given two days training in January this year but also given plots of land, six seedlings, field book, mentorship and supervision.

Representatives of Oyo state ministry of trade and investment, media establishment, National Directorate of Employment, Ibadan Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as the National Orientation Agency, NOA said the training was timely adding that the training had broken the mismatch of skills and unemployment.

They urged the youths to work on the facilities given them by NIHORT approach them so as to access requisite facilities to upscale their business.

Two of the beneficiaries commended NIHORT for the opportunity given and pledged to replicate the training to others while also engaging in farming to contribute to food sufficiency. 

Our correspondent reports that apart from two certificates and farming guide given the graduands, six out of the twenty eight graduands were given an award of excellent and unwavering performance, hardwork and a fruitful accomplishment.

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