The Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research has called on the government to increase its investment in the agricultural sector.
According to the Director, Aquaculture and Research, NIOMR, Dr. Patricia Anyanwu, if the government increased its allocation to agriculture, it would not only empower the youths, but reduce unemployment and promote economic growth.
While speaking at the opening ceremony of the Aquaculture and Post-Harvest Training for Unemployed Graduates in Lagos, she stated it was the third in the series of training organised by senators and members of the House of Representatives.
She stated that the current training consisting of 56 participants was a special constituency project organised by the chairman and members of the House of Representatives Committee on Research Institute and Federal Colleges of Agriculture.
Anyanwu added that the current trainees, like other sets, would be given starter packs containing tools and equipment to start fish business and become employers of labour.
She said the starter pack for each trainee would contain one fish tank, one scale, one hand net, 15 bags of fish feed, two basins, one plastic sieve and 500 juvenile cat fish.
She said, “The beauty of this training is that it is only for a period of five days. After the training, these people can go home to practise with the equipment they would be given and start making money in less than five months. If the business is taken seriously, they could expand and become large employers of labour.”
“The last training focused on fish processing; this training would focus on production. Unlike the last set where we had more females, this set has more males. We are always happy to train women because naturally, they are skilled at food processing and production. So, we want to update their skills to follow modern technology,” Anyanwu said.
She added that the institute was putting in place mentorship programmes for each trainee, so they could learn from their mentors.
According to her, the success stories of previous training motivated the senators and members of the House of Representatives to venture into sponsoring members from their constituencies to learn.
She said if corporate organisations could sponsor people to learn a skill in agriculture, the government could do same or even better.
She urged the government to concentrate on agricultural development and policy reforms, adding that increased investment in the agricultural sector would foster all round development of the economy.
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