No fewer than six hundred youth of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have been empowered with practical skills in Greenhouse farming technology, targeted at propelling them to gainfully venture into agriculture sector.
The youth, drawn from the FCT agriculture based youth groups across the six area councils were comprehensively engaged in a two-day capacity building on Green-house management practices, organised by FCT Agricultural and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS) in Gwagwalada, Wednesday.
Flagging off the training, the ARDS secretary, Mallam Abubakar Ibrahim, said the programme is in line with one of the policy thrust of the FCT Administration, predicated on unearthing the abundant potentials of the agriculture sector in territory as well as to positively engage the teeming population of youth in productive ventures across the various agricultural value chains.
Ibrahim who noted that ARDS ventured into the Greenhouse crop production in 2020 as a pilot project mainly for demonstration purposes for FCT youth, which has now metamorphosed into a venture with huge commercial benefits.
He said: “This is part of Mr. President’s call for us the agencies and ministries to lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty. So, we are introducing a new technology (Green House farming in the FCT,) it is an all-year round programme to encourage our youth and women to venture into agriculture sector.
“Because, as we all know, every day the population of Abuja is increasing as people from all walks of life come to look for jobs, and we don’t have the jobs. This is why we are introducing this new technology.
“At the end of the training, we are going to encourage them with some starter-packs that would help them to advance their skills and knowledge.
“Already, we have gotten approval from the Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, to establish additional two new Greenhouses in Bwari and Kwali area councils respectively. So, my hope is before I leave office is to replicate this in the six area councils of the FCT,” he stated.
Speaking earlier, director, Agric Services at the ARDS, Mrs Ihekandu Francisca, stated that Greenhouse technology is a new method of rapid multiplication of crop commodities , under controlled climate and environmental factors for increase in crop yield.
She added that the training will empower farmers, ensure self-sufficiency in sustainable agriculture, reduce youth restiveness, rural-urban youth drift, create jobs and alleviate poverty in the territory.
In his goodwill message, station head, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Kubwa, Professor Lateef Sanni, who noted that recently the organisation signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) of partnership with the FCTA, said one of the first case study was the issue of the use of Greenhouse technology, which is the practical demonstration of green innovation. It is also a hand-aide tool for the youth, as it is more or less an urban farming system, with available market for the produce.
He said: “On behalf of IITA, I want to compliment the initiative with a solar house technology for the processing and preservation of the post harvest, which we have done in other countries.
“I want to openly commend the FCT Minister of State and the amiable and productive Mandate Secretary for ARDS and the directors for taking this initiative. And if we all work together, definitely, we are going to create more jobs for the youth and enhance our economic development as a nation.”