A call has gone to corps members undertaking the compulsory one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme to equip themselves with modern trends in agricultural practices, as part of moves to be self-reliant and boost food sufficiency in the country.
The advice was given by the NYSC Director-General, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim in his remarks during a virtual seminar organised by corps members serving at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State.
This was as he noted that the NYSC management is intensifying efforts to ensure active participation of corps members in agriculture in line with the Federal Government’s drive to boost agriculture in order to diversify the national economy from over dependence on oil.
According to him, NYSC had resuscitated its farms and other ventures to equip corps members with various vocational and entrepreneurial skills under the NYSC Skills Acquisition Programme to empower them with skills that will provide the corps members with alternative sources of livelihood after service.
“I call on corps members to leverage on the opportunity provided by this seminar to equip themselves with modern trends in agriculture. I urge you to sustain the momentum and continue to reach out to other corps members and youths in the country to key into the introduction of digital delivery tools in agriculture,” the Director-General said.
Ibrahim, however, stated further that NYSC scheme would continue to provide a conducive environment for corps members to acquire skills through its ventures, skill acquisition programmes and collaborations with other relevant agencies.
The Director-General, who commended the organisers of the seminar, therefore, added that the synergy between the NYSC scheme and IITA was yielding positive results that would lead to the emergence of youths that would make their mark in agrobusiness, thus becoming employers of labour instead of job seekers.
Ibrahim also urged the corps members to key into other youthempowerment programmes of the Federal Government such as the N75 Billion Youth Investment Trust Fund, the National Young Farmers Scheme, and Youth Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria, as well as other programmes designed towards ensuring that youths are self-reliant.
Meanwhile, in her remarks, the IITA Deputy Director-General, Corporate Services, Mrs. Hilde Koper-Limbourg, who said that the institute had the mandate to reduce food scarcity, appealed to the corps members to embrace agro-business that would make them wealth and job creators.
Also, the Project Manager Basics II, Prof. Sanni Lateef, in his paper, urged the corps members to make a critical understudy of the prevailing food shortage and proffer solutions to the challenges.
He further admonished them to build themselves into a team for greater prospects in the future. Various speakers at the seminar include Dr. Lava Kumar, a Virologist and Head of Germplasm Health Unit, among others.