The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has allocated a $78 million training grant to support food security in Nigeria by empowering 150 farmers in Bauchi State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
This information was disclosed by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Mrs. Massandje Toure-Litse, at the launch of a poultry workshop for beneficiaries of the grant in the Orozo area of Abuja on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the beneficiaries of the ECOWAS grant are farmers of the Community Allied Farmers Association of Nigeria (COMAFAS).
Toure-Litse revealed that the grant will enhance the capacity of young people to engage in agriculture value chains and food production.
She mentioned that the funds would be allocated to train 150 young individuals in the fields of poultry and fisheries, highlighting that these two subsectors play a vital role in driving the sub-region’s economy and fostering its development.
ECOWAS has developed comprehensive training modules and organized a training section for a total of 3,032 young individuals with 30 per cent being women and 70 per cent men, as stated by Toure-Litse.
She emphasized that enhancing agricultural productivity and competitiveness in West Africa has the potential to positively impact food security, economic development, and livelihoods in the sub-region.
Toure-Litse highlighted that the ECOWAS Agriculture Policy remains the guiding framework for all 15 member states, emphasizing its focus on agricultural productivity and competitiveness.
The program’s primary goal is to strengthen the capabilities of young people and female farmers, facilitating their access to resources, markets, and involvement in agribusiness.
She underscored the urgent need for intervention in gender participation in agriculture, youth employment, and various aspects of the food supply chain, including crops, forestry, livestock, and fisheries.
Dr Austine Maduka, Founder/President of COMAFAS, explained that the training organized in partnership with ECOWAS aims to educate young farmers on effective strategies for starting and managing production.
He emphasized that the partnership will play a crucial role in ensuring the availability of meat and other food products while equipping individuals with relevant skills to implement sustainable poverty reduction strategies.
Notably, out of the 150 beneficiaries, 75 will receive training in poultry farming in the FCT, while the remaining 75 will be trained in fish farming in Bauchi.
The beneficiaries in the FCT have received initial support in the form of 50 birds each, along with bags of poultry feeds and necessary medications to kickstart their endeavours.
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