ATASP trains Anambra, Enugu youths on agribusiness

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The Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase-1 (ATASP-1) on Monday began a 10-day training of 50 youths from Anambra and Enugu States on agribusiness incubation in Enugu to enhance food sufficiency.

The incubatees were selected from eight participating local governments in ATASP-1 Adani-Omor Zone coverage area of Anambra and Enugu states.

The National Programme Coordinator ATASP-1, Dr Ibrahim Arabi, informed participants that the Federal Government launched the programme to attract private sector investment in agriculture and ensure food and nutritional sufficiency.

“The ATASP-1 is also transforming agricultural landscape through reduction in post-harvest losses, value addition to local agricultural produce and development of rural infrastructure,” he said.

Arabi, represented by ATASP-1 National Agribusiness Specialist, Dr Kunle Alege, said the programme would also enhance access of farmers and other value chain actors to financial services and markets.

“The objective is to enhance food and nutrition security, poverty alleviation, employment generation, wealth creation, rural access and accessibility and facilitation of financial services and markets for the benefiting communities of the Programme.”

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Arabi said that the project had developed strategies that would attract, train and retain these youths in the agribusiness sector.

He said that the youths would be provided with on-the-job training and mentoring to improve their practical skills and knowledge in agribusiness.

Declaring the training open, Dr Patrick Ubru, Enugu State Commissioner for Agriculture and Agro-Industrialisation, said the Gov Peter Mbah administration in conjunction with ATASP-1 and other donor funded agencies, empowered the youths with agricultural innovations.

According to him, there are endless opportunities in modern agriculture for youths that have the energy and drive.

The commissioner explained that all the value-chains were open, which included digital agricultural marketing if one did not want to go to the farm.

“As you are already aware of Enugu State Government’s core vision, led by His Excellency, Dr Peter Mbah is to grow the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from $4.4 billion to $30 billion by 2031”.

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“While between 40 per cent and 50 per cent of this target is expected to be generated from the agricultural sector.

“It should be noted that no country develops without sustainably huge investments in agriculture.

“Being mindful of the above, His Excellency, Gov. Mbah had paid seven years of counterpart funds for ATASP-1 and many other donor agencies’ funds within the first few months into his administration,” he said.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Zonal Programme Coordinator ATASP-1 Adani-Omor Zone, Dr Romanus Egba, lauded the support and smooth working relationship of the Enugu State Government.

Egba said: “I commend the agriculture-loving Governor of Enugu State, Dr Peter Mbah, for paying a huge backlog of 7-year arrears of ATASP-1 counterpart fund at once.

“This shows the outright commitment and seriousness of the government towards agriculture.

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He noted that the incubatees that performed exceptionally well during the training and with a practical business plan/proposal would get seed fund as a start-up grant.

The coordinator said that ATASP would also link the incubatees with lawmakers, offices and organizations willing to support youth agribusinesses.

One of the incubatees, Miss Amarachi Ezemaduekwe, appreciated the Federal Government and ATASP-1 for providing the opportunity for the intensive and extensive training which had made an impact on her agribusiness outlook.

“I am grateful to all, especially ATASP-1 that made the training possible. I will appeal for a sort of support for us to practically engage in what we have learnt here,” Ezemaduekwe appealed.

Another incubatee, Mr Kingsley Chukwuebuka, said that the training had made a huge impact in his life as he would be going back home after the training to start his own business. (NAN)

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