The Federal Government has concluded plans to introduce graduate farmers’ scheme across the senatorial districts in the country, as a way to address the challenge unemployment in the country.
This was disclosed recently by the Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman Adamu, at the flag-off of Graduates/Youths Empowerment in the areas of crop production and fish farming, at Oyan Dam, Ogun state.
The programme was put in place by the Ogun-Oshun River Basin Development Authority, Abeokuta, which witnessed the empowerment of 20 successful graduate farmers, who passed through the scheme.
The minister represented by the Director River Basins Operations and Inspectorates, Dr. Musa Ibrahim, noted that the scheme would provide opportunity for the unemployed ones to tackle the problem of poverty and idleness, so as to enable them become leading agricultural entrepreneurs in the country.
The minister explained that the scheme focuses on crop production and fish farming, and this was the second flag off after the one held in Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority, which covers Kogi, Kwara and some parts of Niger State.
“In the last six months, we have taken concrete steps to resuscitate the River Basin Development Authorities.
“The first of which was to develop a road map that includes quick-win interventions with the objective of restoring mandate, building institutional capacity, maximising operation and the output of the RBDAs and creating job opportunities through irrigation farming and aquaculture under a graduate/youths empowerment scheme.
“I only want to add that I am excited at the prospect of extending the scheme to all the 109 senatorial districts of the country, after what I hope will be a successful outcome of the first 12 pilot projects that will be established by each of the River Basin Development Authorities before the end of this year,” Adamu added.
The minister also said that the scheme would be modelled after the Songhai integrated farm model, and that it would engage carefully selected participants in batches of 50.
The Managing Director, O-ORBDA, Engineer Akin Soyemi, said the programme was propelled by the desire of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s to using agriculture to create employment and boost food security.