NCAM seeks favourable agricultural policies for youths
The Acting Director of the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM), Ilorin, Dr. Yomi Kasali, has commended the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, for making youths the focus of his agricultural policies.
He canvassed proper training of the youths in marketing agricultural produce in the country, noting that it would eliminate hunger and assist the youths to engage in commercial farming.
While addressing participants at the Integrated Agricultural Entrepreneurship programme yesterday, Kasali said agricultural policies without a robust strategy for commercial values would scare the nation’s youths from embracing farming.
The event, which would last for the next 14 days, involved 20 youths from Osun and Kwara states.
House of Representatives members- Amuda Kannike (Kwara) and Olufemi Fakeye (Osun) funded the training programme in collaboration with the House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services.
He said: “Your being here today is to fulfill one of the Federal Government’s cardinal programmes of empowering Nigerian youths through agriculture.
“Agriculture had been the mainstay of the country’s economy since the 1970s but the discovery of crude oil had eroded the gains made through agriculture. Youths had drifted towards the white-collar jobs and agriculture was left as an orphan due to the drudgery involved and lack of interest from our youths.
“Therefore, youths need to be sensitised on the need to go into agriculture as a business because agriculture is an untapped goldmine and a treasure of future generations.”
Kasali argued that agriculture, which is the largest employer of labour in the country needed to be revitalised to diversify the economy and allow youths to be entrepreneurs and create wealth for themselves and others.
The NCAM boss while commending Kannike and Fakeye for their foresight to invest in the youths of their constituencies, expressed concerns for low patronage of the institute in spite of fulfilling its core mandate in manufacturing and fabrication of indigenous agricultural machines and equipment along various crop values chains.
Some of such machines designed to eliminate drudgery and accelerate the pace of agricultural mechanisation include: Cassava Planter, Harvester, Peeling Machine, Grater, Hydraulic Press and Mechanical Garri Fryer.
Others are Rice Reaper, Parboiler, Milling and Polishing Machines, Complete Oil Processing Line 30hp Triketor and a 40hp Mini Tractor, among others.
Kasali added that NCAM also has an integrated farming complex, which the participants have to understudy.
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