No fewer than a thousand youths and farmers in Ebonyi State have benefited from a 2-day agricultural training and empowerment programme from Hon. Iduma Igariwey Enwo, the lawmaker representing of Afikpo North and South Federal Constituency.
The constituents were at an event tagged “Strategic Empowerment Training of Youths in Agriculture Enterprise” which drew resource persons from the Department of Agricultural Extension, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The training was held at St Mary’s Cathedral Afikpo at the weekend and featured lectures on improved farming methods and the distribution of farming kits and seed capital to participants.
Addressing participants at the end of the training, Igariwey, who is the Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, commended both the participants and the resource persons for honouring the invitation.
Igariwey said that he organized the event because of his conviction to balance human capital development with infrastructural development.
“The essence of the training is to enable participants [to] acquire knowledge on new techniques of agriculture production ranging from watermelon production, vegetable and fishery”
” I organized this training/ empowerment in spite of the fact that people call me “project and road master,” he said.
“I still accord priority to human capital development and believe that concrete roads, bridges and flyovers are worth nothing without human beings.”
The Federal Lawmaker disclosed that arrangements have reached an advanced stage to organize additional special intensive training for 50 persons in the constituency.
“My people are mainly subsistence farmers. We have a responsibility to update their knowledge on new ways of doing their business.”
“I observed that some crops like cucumber and watermelon can do well on Afikpo soil, we decided to start our 2023 empowerment programme by inviting agricultural extension professionals to impart knowledge on how to plant the crops on our farmers”, he reiterated.
Earlier in a lecture titled “Watermelon Production and Practices,” Dr Cynthia Nwobodo of the Department of Agricultural Extension, at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, urged farmers to see farming as a business.
“Using the same seed to plant on yearly basis will result in low productivity,” she emphasized.
Another resource person, Dr Nelson Osai, contributed a lecture on the topic ‘Agricultural Product Marketing,’ stating that the “marketing chain would only be successful if the product reaches the consumer.”
The beneficiaries of the training were expected to inculcate the knowledge acquired to other farmers in their various communities.
The participants at the training expressed their appreciation for the initiative to Igariwey, commending his quality representation of the constituency, and assuring him of massive support.
Mrs Nnam Chineyenwa Egwu extolled the lawmaker for affording them the opportunity to learn how to plant new crops which they initially thought were impossible to grow in Afikpo.
She called the training an eye-opener and the best empowerment programme she had participated in, stating that before that, she did not know how to plant watermelon, tomatoes, and cucumber or start her fish farm.