IITA partners NNPC/CNL joint venture on youth agricultural programme
AS part of measures to tackle unemployment challenges, Chevron Nigeria Limited, (CNL), operator of the joint venture (JV) between Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and CNL (“NNPC/CNL JV”) has unveiled a youth-in-agriculture (agripreneur) programme.
According to Chevron, the programme aimed at providing training opportunities for young men and women to venture into agribusiness is in collaboration with the Itsekiri Regional Development Committee (IRDC), the Egbema and Gbaramatu Central Development Foundation (EGCDF), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND).
The pilot programme, which is targeted at forty youths from the Itsekiri and Ijaw communities in areas where the NNPC/CNL JV operates in Delta State, was according to a statement flagged off at Egbokodo, Warri.
The statement explained that, the event was attended by various stakeholders including, representatives of the Delta State Government, major stakeholders, among others.
CNL’s General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Deji Haastrup, explained that the objectives of the agripreneur pilot programme, which will gulp over N188 million, include empowering youths to embrace agriculture and agribusiness as income generating activities and training them on aquaculture, cassava, plantain/banana production and processing.
He explained that, the pilot programme will assist the Community Youths in Agribusiness Group (CYAG) to enhance the sustainability of the programme.
Speaking further, Haastrup from the inception of the GMoU in 2005 to 2015, the NNPC/CNL JV has contributed about N16.7 billion to the eight Regional Development Committees (RDCs) – including EGCDF and IRDC – through the GMoU process.
He emphasised that, following the successes recorded in infrastructural development in the communities, the GMoU+ was introduced as a new direction of the community development concept which focuses on business development, income generation and economic empowerment as well as third party partnership and collaboration that align with the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Group General Manager, NAPIMS, Dafe Stephen Sejebor, represented by Mrs. Clementina Arubi, Deputy Manager, Community Development expressed delight at the agripreneur programme and stated that the programme will help encourage the youths to pursue other economic activities outside crude oil in the light of the challenging economic situation in the country.
The Delta State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Austin Chikezie represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Ede Oghoro, applauded the efforts to embrace agriculture as an income generation activity.
Oghoro stated that the programme records with the State government’s Agenda of Strategic wealth creation projects and provision of jobs for all Deltans; meaningful peace building platforms aimed at political and social harmony; Agricultural reforms and accelerated industrialization; Relevant Health and Education policies and Transformed environment through urban renewal (SMART), and pledged that trained youths from the programme would be integrated into the state’s agricultural reform agenda, thereby amplifying the benefits of the youth initiative.
According to the statement, top representatives of EGCDF and the IRDC also commended the NNPC/CNL JV for initiating the programme and promised to support and actively participate in it.
The Deputy Director General, Partnerships and Capacity Development, IITA, Dr. Kenton Dashiell, described the initiative as an opportunity that would create wealth and jobs for young men and women in the communities where the NNPC/CNL JV operates.
IITA Head of Partnerships Coordination, Dr Alfred Dixon, said the approach of mentoring the youth and working together with them in the communities are other unique features of the programme.
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