Enugu Government Pledges to Drive Economy through Agriculture as ATASP-1 Trains 50 Youths on Agribusiness

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By Flowerbudnews

Dr Patrick Ubru, Commissioner for Agriculture and Agro-Industrialisation in Enugu State says that agricultural transformation and innovation drives the state government envisioned GDP growth projection from $4.4 billion to $30 billion.


Ubru made this known on Monday in Enugu while declaring open the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase-1 (ATASP-1) Youth in Agribusiness Incubation Training at Trans Ekulu, Enugu.

A total of 50 youth incubatees selected from eight participating local governments in Anambra and Enugu, ATASP-1 Adani-Omor Zone coverage area are participating in the 10-day incubation programme.

The commissioner said that Governor Peter Mbah administration in conjunction with ATASP-1 and other donor funded agencies, is retooling and empowering youths with agricultural innovations to drive the process of the GDP projection of the government.

According to him, there are endless opportunities in modern agriculture for youths that have the energy and drive; and all the value-chains are open, which includes digital agricultural marketing if one does not want to go to the farm.

“As you are already aware of Enugu State Government’s core vision, led by His Excellency, Dr Peter Mbah is to grow the state’s GDP from $4.4 billion to $30 billion by 2031”.

“While between 40 per cent and 50 per cent of this target is expected to be generated from the agricultural sector.

“It should be noted that no country develops without sustainably huge investments in agriculture.

“Being mindful of the above, His Excellency, Gov. Mbah had paid seven years of counterpart funds for ATASP-1 and many other donor agencies’ funds within the first few months into his administration,” he said.

The National Programme Coordinator ATASP-1, Dr Ibrahim Arabi, informed participants that the Federal Government launched ATASP-1 to attract private sector investment in agriculture and ensure food and nutritional sufficiency.

Arabi, represented by ATASP-1 National Agribusiness Specialist, Dr Kunle Alege, said: “The ATASP-1 is also transformimg agricultural landscape through reduction in post-harvest losses, value addition to local agricultural produce, development of rural infrastructure and enhance access of farmers and other value chain actors to financial services and markets.

“The objective is to Enhance Food and Nutrition Security, Poverty Alleviation, Employment Generation, Wealth Creation, Rural Access and Accessibility and facilitation of financial services and Markets for the benefiting communities of the Programme.”

Arabi said that the project had developed strategies that would attract, train and retain these youths in the agribusiness sector, adding that the youths would be provided with on-the-job training and mentoring to improve their practical skills and knowledge in agribusiness.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Zonal Programme Coordinator ATASP-1 Adani-Omor Zone, Dr Romanus Egba, lauded the support and smooth working relationship of the Enugu State Government.

Egba said: “I commend the agriculture-loving Governor of Enugu State, Dr Peter Mbah, for paying a huge backlog of 7-year arrears of ATASP-1 counterpart fund at once. This shows the outright commitment and seriousness of the government towards agriculture.

“I want everybody here to continue to pray and support the governor and our amiable commissioner for more resources to be made available and for these training to continue for thousands of youths across the state.”

He noted that the incubatees that performed exceptionally well during the training and with a practical business plan/proposal would get seed fund as a start-up grant and “ATASP is also linking the incubatees with lawmakers, offices and organizations willing to support youth agribusinesses”.

One of the incubatees, Miss Amarachi Ezemaduekwe, appreciated the Federal Government and ATASP-1 for providing the opportunity for the intensive and extensive training; which had made an impact on her agribusiness outlook.

“I am grateful to all, especially ATASP-1 that made the training possible. I will appeal for a sort of support for us to practically engage in what we have learnt here,” Ezemaduekwe appealed.

Another incubatees, Mr Kingsley Chukwuebuka, said that the training had made a huge impact in his life as he would be going back home after the training to start something as he had been fired-up to become an employer of labour.

Biola Lawal

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