The West Africa Productivity Programme (WAAPP-Nigeria) in Makurdi, commenced training on value addition and entrepreneurship for farmers in North Central zone of the country.
Speaking at the opening, the National Project Coordinator of WAAPP, Dr James Apochi said the training was being conducted in collaboration with the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, (FIIRO), in Lagos State.
He said WAAPP is sponsored by the World Bank and it is being implemented in all ECOWAS countries, adding that the aim of the programme is to enhance agricultural productivity and to foster integration in the sub-region through generation and dissemination of agro technologies for adoption by farmers.
According to him, WAAPP in collaboration with FIIRO had developed 250 technologies, 50 of which were already commercialised.
“The technologies include sorghum malting and brewing of 100 per cent sorghum beer, baking of bread and other confectionery from composite flour, cassava flour production, production of fruit juice among others.
“At the end of the training, participants are expected to be able to produce products, check quality of raw materials and products, market products and manage businesses profitably,” he said.
In his remarks, the Commission for Agriculture Benue, Mr James Anbua commended WAAPP for choosing Benue as host of the training.
Represented by the Director, Agric Services, Thomas Unongo, Anbua said the objectives of WAAPP were in line with the State Government’s agro industrialisation policy.
Meanwhile, the Senior Adviser, International Donor Partners, Appeh Auta said WAAPP objectives agrees with President Muhammadu Buhari’s drive for food security, import substitution, job creation and economic diversification.
Also speaking, the Director General of FIIRO, Dr Gloria Elemo said the institute had trained over 500,000 techno-entrepreneurs, many of which had established profitable enterprises.
Represented by a Deputy Director in the institute, Felix Ajuebor, Elemo said WAAPP in collaboration with the institute had trained youths and women in the South South and South East.
She said the training which will go round all the six geo political zones in the country will focus on cassava and fruit juice processing, among others.