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Otti’s strategy for reaching the grassroots (II)

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Three hundred Abia State youths have just returned from Nassarawa State where they were mobilised by the state to train on modern agricbusiness skill acquisition.

This is a fulfilment of Governor Alex Otti’s campaign promise. The idea is to expose participants to the untapped wealth creation and job security in integrated farming.

Otti also aims to develop resource persons who will be empowered to grow the agricultural sector of the state. The programme is a train-the-trainer and participants are expected to train three other persons in their localities.

The state partnered with Called Servant to Serve (CSS Farms) Gora in Nassarawa State. The centre is a registered International Skills Acquisition Center (ISAC) on Agribusiness.

Apart from bearing the total expenses for the programme, the governor also paid stipends to the 300 participants with a promise to provide them with more incentives to enable establish their farms

The trainees were carefully selected from political wards delineated by the in the state  by the Independent National Electoral Commission and are expected to train additional three persons from their wards upon their return.

Before their departure, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Pastor Caleb Ajagba told the ambassadors that they are being trained to lead the war against food shortage in the country and to grow the economy through the abundant food supply.

The training covered five five agribusiness value chains/enterprises

1. Open-field farming( cassava, yam, rice, and maize etc.)
2. Poultry (Broiler and Layers)
3. Fishery (hatchery and Nursery)
4. Green House and Hydroponic farming
5. value addition.

A participant from Obingwa Local Government Area (LGA), Amaraizu David Nnabugwu said that the programme which was a two weeks package was very resourceful and educative as many professors and doctorate degree holders lectured on all the listed categories of agribusiness enterprises. They were exposed to over fifteen agro-businesses and these include:

1. Leadership Skills Development in Agribusiness
2. Entrepreneurship  Skill Development in Agribusiness
3. Introduction to Agribusiness and Agribusiness Value Chain
4. Fish Farming
5. Rice and Maize Production
6. Cassava and Yam Production
7. Poultry Production and Management
8. Digital Agriculture and Agribusiness
9. Branding, Sales and Marketing of Agricultural Produce
10. Ruminant Nutrition and Fattening
11. Value Addition and Export
12. Financing Agriculture
13. The Power of Vision
14. Business Plan for an Agricultural Business
15. Irrigation and Farm Machinery Training, etc

Bertha Ehumadu from Isiala Ngwa South LGA also testified that the practical session of the programme was topnotch as it was carried out by CSS Farms experts who devoted their time to make it an interactive and educative session replicating all that was lectured into real life scenario. She said that field practice by the trainees were carefully explained on all the processes involved in various fields of their areas of specialization.

The management of CSS Integrated Farms, chaired by Prof. John Kenneth Okpara, threw their support to encourage Abia trainees by providing a take-home tablet PC for all trainees and uploaded their lecture materials for convenience and easy access to personally review their training when practising on their own.

The graduation ceremony of the training witnessed Otti’s presence and his team who, out of their busy schedule, made it to CSS Integrated Farms in Gora, Nassarawa State to reaffirm the government support and assurance to enable them to hit the ground running immediately.

Indeed, Otti is deploying many strategies of sustainable development to engage the Abia grassroots.

Adindu writes from Umuahia

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