SEN. Opeyemi Bamidele, representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District, has trained no fewer than 250 youths and women in rice and fish farming as well as animal feed production in his senatorial district.
Speaking at the end of the training in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday, Bamidele, represented by his Senior Legislative Assistant, Mr Bunmi Oguntuase, said that his vision was to revamp agriculture and encourage youths in farming to make them self-reliant.
Bamidele, who is also the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary and Human Rights, said that the training had become imperative owing to the escalating rate of unemployment in the country.
This, he said, had made it practically impossible for people to feed and have the basic things of life.
The senator said he decided to train the youth in rice production to complement the rice processing plant already facilitated into the state by Gov. Kayode Fayemi to boost production.
Bamidele also disclosed that the governor had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Dangote and Stallion Group for the establishment of a N3.5 billion rice mill in the state.
“Hundreds of youths have been trained in rice and fish farming as well as animal feed production in the state.
“The beneficiaries will be empowered with start-up funds for the agric business that will make them economically self-reliant, rather than being job seekers,’’ he said.
The lawmaker said that with the high level of unemployment in the country, it had become expedient for leaders to think about how best to develop agriculture, especially in the areas where Ekiti had comparative advantage.
“Nigerians must look back into history very well. During the time of regional system, Chief Obafemi Awolowo relied on agriculture to fund free education and other laudable projects at that time.
“Available statistics show that more than 85 percent of Nigerian graduates are either unemployed or underemployed. This is killing and not too good for our future as a nation,” Bamidele said.
He expressed the regret that many Nigerians were still having the nostalgic feelings of the old cocoa period of the old Western region and the groundnut pyramid of the old Northern region.
Bamidele said that those were the good old days when the country’s development indices were high and favourable, unlike what was obtainable now.
“Youths must be equipped and encouraged to embrace commercial agriculture.
“Agriculture has gone beyond subsistence level. It has become a veritable source of business that can create employment and wealth,’’ he said.
Two of the beneficiaries, Mr Michael Akinleye and Mrs Adenike Popoola, commended the senator for fashioning out the best way of rescuing the unemployed youth and women in his constituency from poverty.
The participants, who said that the training would be of immense help, considering the pervasive dearth of white-collar jobs in the country, however, warned their colleagues against misapplying the start-up funds.
– Oct. 8, 2020 @ 13:10 GMT /