Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, Director-General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), has charged youth corps members to develop an interest in agriculture to enable them to be self-reliant.
He stated this at the inauguration of the 2021 Farming season by NYSC Youth Corps members on a 16-hectare farmland secured by the NYSC in Doma local government area of Nasarawa on Saturday.
Ibrahim said since 2012, NYSC had introduced a number of programmes, including Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) Programme, aimed at teaching corp members skills they would need to be self-employed given the scarcity of white-collar jobs.
He said one of the trainings offered by SAED is agriculture, a sector capable of lifting many from poverty and employing many young Nigerians.
”With demonstrations on this farmland, we want to encourage corps members to show more interest in agriculture and earn their livelihood through it,” he said.
Ibrahim thanked the Andoma of Doma, Alhaji Aliyu Onawo, for offering the land to NYSC for agriculture demonstration to corps members, among other uses.
He said that the acquisition of the land and the practical use of it would go a long way to convince corps members to see agriculture as a viable alternative.
“We urge other royal fathers and state governments to emulate the good gesture of the Andoma to avail lands to our corps members so that they can showcase their talents and get experience in farming,” he said.
Also speaking, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, Nasarawa state Deputy Governor, lauded the commitment of the NYSC in pushing the agriculture agenda of the Federal Government to youth corps members with a view to encouraging them to be self-reliant.
Akabe, represented by Prof. Allalana Otaki, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Water Resources, pledged Nasarawa state government’s support for the NYSC agriculture initiative.
In a remark, Mr Stephen Dewan, Coordinator of the NYSC in the state, expressed excitement over farming season development.
He promised to ensure that corps members in the state are thoroughly trained and exposed to the numerous opportunities available in the agriculture sector.
In a speech, Mr Johnbenedict Tyoakosu, a youth corper and President, NYSC Nasarawa state Agro-Allied Community Development Service (CDS) Group, said the group would commence the farming season with planting of melon seeds.
He said melon seeds mature in three months and two weeks, adding that they would also plant beniseed.
“This farm will be used for demonstration purposes for corps members interested in farming to learn the best agronomic practices of the crops that will be cultivated here.
”It will enable us to train the beneficiaries not just theoretically but practically,” he said.
Tyoakosu noted that the agricultural activities on the Demonstration Farm would contribute to the food security of Nasarawa State and Nigeria as a whole.
“Practical work on Agro-based SAED can also be done to equip the corp members with the skills which will make them self-employed and subsequently employers of labour,” he said. (NAN)