From Debra Ajulo, Ilorin
The Provost, Federal College of Wildlife Management, New Bussa, Niger state, Dr. Titus Ampitan, has stressed the need for Nigerian farmers to add value to their farm produce to make it acceptable on the global market.
Speaking on Monday at the opening ceremony of a five day workshop held at the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) campus on Agricultural Products Export Promotion Engagement/Empowerment Program for men, women and youths of Ifelodun local government area of Kwara state.
While reiterating that agriculture remains the major occupation of rural dwellers in Nigeria he lamented that, “this all important profession has not yielded much for the people that practice it as a result of the methods employed in carrying out their farming activities.”
He said this has greatly hindered farmers from having maximum benefits from their produce thereby leading to poverty.
According to Dr. Ampitan, “For our farmers to remain in commercial farming, they must be creative in whatever they are producing. The global market does not just accept any product, such products that are coming into international market must have been improved upon, that is, value must have been added to them.”
He noted that Agricultural products exportation has become an important instrument that the government is promoting in order to improve the living standard of the peasant farmers through foreign exchange earnings.
The Provost further disclosed that given the current dwindling earnings from the oil industry, the federal government is embarking on programs that will promote exportation of agricultural products in order to produce products that can meet international market needs.
He explained that this program hinges on four very important outcome: wealth creation for the rural populace, poverty reduction, employment generation and value re-orientation
“In order to help the nation in food production and good agricultural practices, Federal College of Wildlife Management, New Bussa, a training arm of Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, Ibadan, thought it wise to train men, women and youths in areas of farm produce handlings, and ways agricultural products can be processed to meet international standards. The college usually embarks on reseaches that are farmer oriented and the results of these are usually disseminated to farmers through demonstrations and training,” he said.
He disclosed that the workshop will ensure that both practicing and new entrants into the agricultural products production get acquainted with the nitty gritty of handling and storage methods of their farm products for international market.
Earlier in his address, the Executive Director of ARMTI, Dr. Olufemi Oladunni had said the ongoing border closure is beneficial to Nigerian farmers only if they can see the opportunities opened to them.
The ED noted that some young farmers engaged in snail farming, poultry farming and others are already making good use of the border closure to make more money for themselves.
In his address, the principal consultant of Magic Touch Business Solution Limited, Mr. Sunday Babalola said the program was borne out of the fire need to equip participants with the relevant skills needed for sustaining agri-bussiness in the country.
He stressed that a strong and efficient agricultural sector will enable the country to feed its growing population, generate employment, earn foreign exchange and provide raw materials for industries.
Babalola who commended the Federal College of Wildlife Management for being in the forefront of ensuring effective and efficient implementation of various agricultural development policies of the Federal Government disclosed that over 75 participants will benefit from the workshop.