The State Project Manager of FADAMA III Project in Bauchi State, Dr Ali Garba, disclosed the agency has trained 300 Agro-Prenuers on agricultural enterprenuership as part of effort to boost food production in the state. He said this in Bauchi at the graduation ceremony of the enterprenuers and distribution of foodstuff to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), taking refuge in the state.
Garba said that the beneficiaries had earlier attended a 10-day training under the Graduates Unemployed Youth and Women Support Scheme (GUYS).
He said they were trained at the Bauchi State College of Agriculture, Bauchi and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, on livestock production, poultry, fishery and other agricultural related fields.
Garba said the programme was being funded by the World Bank under FADAMA III Additional Financing (AF), adding that 542 candidates earlier applied for the programme. According to him, 200 graduates will be assisted with grants ranging between N700,000 and N900,000 to enable them set up agricultural ventures.
Garba said that the remaining 100 graduates would be linked to financial institutions to enable them secure soft loans for the same purpose. On the distribution of foodstuff to IDPs, he said that the foodstuff was under the Livelihood Crop Project meant for victims of insurgency.
The project manager said that the IDPs were earlier assisted with seeds and other agricultural inputs to enable them go into food production. He said that 1,680 IDPs comprising of 40 households in 67 communities would benefit from the gesture.
The Permannet Secretary, State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr Bala Lukoil, said that the State Government had paid N35 million in 2017 as counterpart fund to Fadama III Additional Funding.
Lukshi said that rural farmers have cultivated 6,700 hectares under both rain fed and dry season farming between 2009 and 2013 under the project in the state.
He said that 10,000 hectares of land had been cultivated and farmers had planted rice and sorghum under the 2017 rainfall cultivation.
Special Adviser to Gov. Mohammed Abubakar on Security, retired Brig. -Gen. Ladan Yusuf while presenting certificates to the agro-preneurs, urged them to set up their business immediately the fund was given to them. Yusuf warned the IDPs against selling of the foodstuff given to them and promised that government would continue to assist them.
State Chairman of the IPDs, Mallam Buba Shehu while speaking on behalf of the IDPs commended the Fadama III project for initiating the programme.
Shehu also commended the peaceful co-existence between the IDPs and their host communities and assured that they would continue to exhibit same till the time they leave the state for their respective states.
A graduand of the agro-prenuers, Mallam Yusuf Yahaya who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, urged the state government to issue grants to the remaining 100 graduates who had been linked to financial institutions to obtain loans.
Yahaya thanked the state government for the gesture and promised that they would make best use of the grants to establish their own businesses. (BASG)