The Federal Government has trained and empowered selected women and youths from Oyo and Ogun states on ruminant production and management
The exercise which was organised by the the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS), on Wednesday, empowered no fewer than 80 beneficiaries with a male goat and a female goat each as well as start-up cash for expansion after the training.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, while declaring open a two-day training and empowerment programme in Ibadan, said livestock sub-sector remained an integral part of food security and national development in Nigeria.
Umakhihe, who was represented by the Director, Federal Department of Agricultural Extension Services, Dr Deola Lordbanjou, said that women remained the cornerstone of agricultural development, considering their notable roles in agricultural activities.
According to him, women are faced with challenges emanating from culture and religion militating against their income.
“It is important for women to be supported, trained and empowered to address the challenges of gender inequality, unemployment and poverty.
“The FMAFS has thus developed a training and empowerment programme on small ruminants to provide the easiest and most readily accessible agribusiness to support women in Ogun and Oyo states.
“It is expected that this will help them meet their immediate households’ socio-economic obligations,” he said.
He enjoined the beneficiaries not to sell the goats, noting that proper tracking, mentoring and monitoring mechanism had been put in place through farmers’ associations for sustainability of the project.
Also, the Coordinator of FMAFS in Ogun, Dr Patience Ayo-Ajayi, urged the beneficiaries to take advantage of the training to network and build a community of small ruminant farmers.
This, she said, would help them exchange ideas, share experiences, necessary skills and insights that would help them to become successful small ruminant farmers after the training and empowerment.
In her contribution, the Coordinator of FMAFS in the Oyo State, Dr Florence Kakulu, said that the effect of the present economic situation in the country and its impact on the populace needed a strategic solution through small scale agriculture.
She said that this would reduce the burden on the livelihood and income of the farming families to enable them to overcome the challenges posed by the economic review.
Kakulu noted that empowering the capacity of women and youths in agribusiness remained a way of diversifying and transforming the economy.
In his goodwill message, Oyo State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Olasunkami Olaleye, represented by Direction of Extension Services in the ministry, Mr Rasaq Marruf, thanked the federal government for expanding the project to the state.
Responding, the National Chairman, Sheep and Goats Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr Salami Abimbola, who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries, thanked the federal government for the initiative, saying it would boost the economic status of the beneficiaries.