The Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on Monday began a three-day training for farmers in Ebonyi in the development of entrepreneurship skills.
Mr Sunday Ituma, IFAD-VCDP State Programme Coordinator (SPC) in Ebonyi, in his address at the opening of the training, said that the main objective of the training was to make the trainees to view their agricultural enterprises as businesses.
Ituma, who was represented by Mr Patrick Chukwu, Assistant Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of IFAD-VCDP, said that the trainees would receive theoretical and practical tutorials in entrepreneurship skills development.
“We are targeting rice and cassava farmers in the value chain to help them increase their productivity, maximise their profits and build their capacities.
“We intend to build their capacities to the extent of making them to require extra hands to run their businesses and, in essence, become employers of labour,” he said.
Mrs Fransicsa Anya, the Rural Institution Gender and Youth Mainstreaming Officer (RIGMO) of IFAD-VCDP, said that the training would strive to change the mindset of the trainees towards practising agriculture from the cultural perspective.
Anya, who was represented by Mr Nnachi Ukpai, the Assistant RIGMO, said that the training would develop the trainees’ entrepreneurship skills to enable them to explore the business opportunities in the rice and cassava value chains.
“The participants would also be exposed to simple, affordable and environmental-friendly practices in crop processing.
“The participants would also be tutored on the importance of workplace management and personal hygiene for crop processors and marketers,” she said.
Mrs Ajuma Ataguba, the Lead Consultant at the training, urged the trainees to possess the technical know-how that would enable them to become successful agro-business entrepreneurs.
“Agro-business entrepreneurs should possess input management abilities, management of production and marketing, while competing favourably in new business environments and making profits.
“They must also be financially literate enough to track and record relevant information on resources movement through simple tools such as cash, bank and stock registers,” she said.
Another consultant, Mr Segun Obakeye, told the trainees that they should effectively juxtapose and imbibe traits in typical farmers and entrepreneurs.
“Typical farmers usually engage in activities for food consumption and trading, while entrepreneurs engage in activities to solve identified problems and plan towards set goals.
“Typical farmers take risks that are subject to their control and seek opportunities within their immediate shores, while entrepreneurs take risks that are proportionate to returns,” he said.
Obakeye said that typical farmers also utilised employed tested, established and perfected processes, while entrepreneurs sought innovative and creative ways of reaching new heights.
One of the trainees, Miss Chinwe Okoro, commended IFAD-VCDP for the training, saying that she would imbibe the necessary skills that would enable her to become a successful entrepreneur.
The theme of the training is “Developing Entrepreneurs in Cassava and Rice Value Chains for Apexes and other Farmers’ Organisations’’.