Around 200,000 young men and women will be trained in seed production of sorghum, cassava and rice. The training will enable them not only to produce high quality seeds but also to serve as out-growers for seed companies.
The National Youth Training on Seed Production and Processing Technology is part of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program – Phase 1 (ATASP-1), supported by the Federal Government of Nigeria through African Development Bank. ATASP-1 aims to provide additional incomes to agricultural producers and entrepreneurs by creating about 120,000 jobs along value chains of its mandate crops. Another goal is to add 20 million tons of key commodity food crops to the country’s domestic food supply per annum. In this intervention, one of the major challenges facing farmers is the shortage of quality seeds, especially of open pollinated varieties.
Flagging off the training program, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, stated that the training was strategic, as the availability of quality seeds at the right time was crucial to enhance productivity of Nigerian farmers. He announced, “The federal government will soon remove the duties on import of steel to encourage more local fabrication.”
At the inaugural event, various research organizations demonstrated the different activities of production, processing, value addition, nutrition and mechanization that they were involved in. Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, Country Representative, ICRISAT-Nigeria showcased locally fabricated small-scale machineries for use by youth and women for agriculture, income generation and increased productivity of farm-related enterprises.
The training will be conducted concurrently at ICRISAT-Nigeria (sorghum), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Kubwa (cassava) and the National Cereals Research Institute, Baddegi (rice).
The event, held on 27 March in Abuja, Nigeria, was attended by several stakeholders including Mr Ibrahim Amadou, Task Team Manager, African Development Bank; Engr Haruna Akwashiki, National Program Coordinator, ATASP-1; directors from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD); Dr Gbassey Tarawali, ATASP-1 Outreach Coordinator and Abuja Station Manager who also represented the IITA Director General; and Dr Philip Idinoba, Rice Commodity Specialist, Africa Rice.