The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), has produced youth farmers who are millionaires and employers of labour in Ebonyi.
Sunday Ituma, the State Programme Coordinator (SPC) made this known during the 2019 Youth Forum in Abakaliki on Thursday.
He said that the youth were supported by the programme as rice seed entrepreneurs and cassava stem multipliers.
Ituma said that some of the youth farmers sold rice seedlings of above N2 million to the programme and got paid instantly for such supplies.
“The programme has trained 20 youth farmers from the state at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan, Oyo for the production of rice seedlings.
“It also trained another set of 15 youth farmers at the National Root Crops Research Institute Umudike, Abia, as cassava stem multipliers.
“The youth farmers supplied all the rice seedlings and cassava cuttings were distributed to 1, 670 framers in the 2019 farming season as their produce passed through our seed -testing laboratory and were certified fit,” he said.
The coordinator remarked that the programme aimed at making the youth farmers employers of labour, saying that some of them were employing people who worked under them.
“One of them, Cynthia Edeze has four employed persons under her and their enterprises had increased their income level and enhanced their livelihood.
“The programme has also exposed the youth to various forms of training both locally and internationally to acquaint them with modern agricultural practices.
“Edeze recently attended a training programme in Cameroon while Mrs Elizabeth Edu, attended a training programme in Rome, Italy on capacity building.
“Most of them have attended other training programmes on leadership, soil management, group dynamics, access to financing, among others, while also assuming role model positions to other youths,” Ituma said.
He said that by the IFAD/VCDP design, a lot of emphasis was placed on providing support to youths and women as over 30 per cent of such support went to them.
“We, therefore, organised them in a youth forum in order not to lose track of what they are doing as some of them have been trained on using rice and cassava to produce recipes that improve nutrition,” he said.
Chief Moses Nome, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, urged the youth to take their various agricultural enterprises seriously to be self-sustaining and achieve overall objectives.
“The job you are doing as farmers is the greatest job in the world as you are already making millions and becoming your own bosses through farming,” Nome said.
Mrs Fransisca Anya, the IFAD-VCDP Rural Institution Gender Youth Mainstreaming Officer (RIGYMO) in Ebonyi, said that the forum gave the youth farmers, opportunities of sharing ideas about their activities in the benefiting local government areas to enhance their productivity.
Mrs Elizabth Edu, one of the youth farmers, thanked IFAD-VCDP for the opportunity of attending a training programme in Rome, saying that she would put the acquired knowledge into practice.