Ex­pert urges youth on ex­plor­ing Agric op­por­tu­ni­ties

Daily Trust - - YOUTHVILLE - Text by Si­mon E. Sunday @Si­monEchewo­fun

An ex­pert and the Coun­try Man­ager of Har­vest­plus, Dr Paul Ilona has urged youth to ex­plore op­por­tu­ni­ties in bio­for­ti­fied crops so they can lever­age on the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s home-grown school feed­ing pro­gramme.

Ilona said this in a state­ment is­sued by the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Of­fi­cer, Mr Ikechukwu Onyewuchi, and made avail­able to the News Agency of Nige­ria (NAN) in Ibadan.

It stated that Ilona made the call in Akwa-Ibom at the pro-vi­ta­min A cas­sava pas­try train­ing pro­gramme for women spon­sored by DFID, Mar­ket Devel­op­ment for Niger Delta (MADE) and Har­vest­plus.

Bio-for­ti­fied crops such as vi­ta­min A cas­sava and vi­ta­min A maize have been in­te­grated into the pro­gramme to pro­duce highly nu­tri­tious sta­ples, it said.

The state­ment said it was un­for­tu­nate that the av­er­age child mor­tal­ity in Nige­ria was 2, 300 ev­ery­day while 145 women die at child birth.

“With­out train­ing, one will fol­low the band­wagon of fail­ures, DFID, MADE do not want that, hence the investment in this train­ing. Youth must be in­no­va­tive and work hard to be suc­cess­ful,” it said.

Ac­cord­ing to the or­gan­i­sa­tion, if youth lever­age on the schoolfeed­ing pro­gramme, they would be­come pi­o­neers as a new mar­ket would be open to them.

It stated that youths in Oyo State had in­vested in con­fec­tionar­ies and on the av­er­age make net re­turn of N15 per sa­chet. The model, it added, en­sures busi­ness and eco­nom­i­cally vi­a­bil­ity.

The Gen­der Of­fi­cer of MADE, Mrs Uny­ime John­son quoted in the state­ment said “The im­proved cas­sava va­ri­ety has con­trib­uted im­mensely in up­lift­ing house­holds and pro­vid­ing a means of liveli­hood to many.”

The 2016 Edi­tion of the Award in Africa is sched­uled to hold To­day in Abuja, Nige­ria.

The event which will take place at In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence Cen­ter will be hosted by Nige­ria Vet­eran Ac­tor Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD), TV Pre­sen­ter, Peace Hyde, Ra­dio Pre­sen­ter An­dre Blaze and Cen­tral African Ac­tress Solange Yinka.

The theme for the 2016 award is ”Se­cur­ing a sta­ble En­ergy for Africa.”

Last year’s award which was held in South Africa saw win­ners in the Young Achiever of the year, Fastest Grow­ing En­tre­pre­neur in Africa, Busi­ness In­no­va­tion, Tourism Per­son­al­ity of the Year, Women/Lead­er­ship Em­pow­er­ment In Africa amongst other cat­e­gory.

Ac­cord­ing to the or­ga­niz­ers, the fo­cus is to rec­og­nize, cel­e­brate and mo­ti­vate all African lead­ers in­clud­ing the fu­ture lead­ers through rec­og­niz­ing the per­sons and or­ga­ni­za­tions that have con­trib­uted re­mark­ably to the devel­op­ment of Africa.

A Malawi me­dia, Nyasa Times re­ports that Malawi’s pres­i­dent will also be hon­oured at the event. It reads “Malawi Pres­i­dent Pro­fes­sor Peter Mutharika will this week re­ceive an ac­co­lade of hon­our at the 2016 African Achiev­ers Awards for the ‘vi­sion­ary lead­er­ship’ which is lay­ing good ground for the coun­try’s next gen­er­a­tions through sus­tain­able devel­op­ment.”

Win­ners of the pre­vi­ous edi­tion

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