youths in Nigeria have reasons to smile as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo announced a plan by the Federal Government to employ 100,000 youths as extension workers, in a bid to provide support services to farmers.
Osinbajo, who disclosed this in his address during the official launch and public presentation of the agriculture promotion policy tagged: ‘Green Alternative’, in Abuja, yesterday, said the number of persons to be trained would be picked from 500,000 teachers currently undergoing recruitment by the Federal Government.
“The launch of the `Green Alternative’ is an attestation that the change the overwhelming majority of Nigerians canvassed for and openly welcomed by giving Muhammadu Buhari a resounding victory in the last presidential election is here,” said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh.
The Minister explained that Green Alternative is built on five major strategic thrusts which include achievement of self-sufficiency in food production, reduction in import dependence, stimulation of agro-export for foreign exchange earnings, enhancement of wealth and job creation, and achievement of economic diversification.
He said: “Some of the key targets that we are seeking to achieve within the planned period and beyond, as quick wins under the three pillars, include growing the agriculture sector annually between six per cent to 12 per cent, doubling agricultural household income in six to 12 years, integrating agricultural commodity value chains into the broader supply chain, driving job growth and wealth growth, as well as ensuring enhanced capacity for foreign exchange earnings.”
Osinbajo, who also disclosed plan by the government to recapitalise the Bank of Agriculture, noted that the major hindrance to the development of the agricultural sector is finance, where double digit interest rate charged on loans is nearly impossible for farmers to meet.