By Ibukun Emiola, Ibadan.
The National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) says it will train no fewer than 30 youths in lowland and upland vegetable production.
The institute announced this at the opening of the Horticultural Academy for Youths (HAY) held at the institute’s conference hall on Wednesday in Ibadan.
The Executive Director of NIHORT, Muhammad Atanda, described the training as part of the ongoing efforts of the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, to reduce unemployment among youths.
He said that the institute had been training youths over the years, adding that more than 600 participants had benefited from such trainings.
According to him, the ongoing training is for people in the south-western part of the country.
The executive director described the training as intensive with practical field experience and cultivation of various horticultural vegetables.
Atanda said: “We have a platform for monitoring the participants. It is going to be training, monitoring and mentoring.
“The mentorship would take nine months for both lowland and upland farming systems, which means both rain-fed and irrigation.
“The training will build the capacity of our youths, as part of the charge from the government and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to train unemployed youths.
“Our main aim is to make them to embrace agriculture and build their capacity to produce crops along our mandate for local and export consumption of vegetables.”
The Project Coordinator in NIHORT, Dr Olutola Oyedele, said that the institute had put in place facilitators and effective monitoring techniques.
According to her, a plot of land has been provided for each participant to plant six varieties of vegetables during the lowland dry season and another at the upland.
“The essence is that whether lowland or upland, they will be able to cultivate these vegetables.
“We consume vegetables daily, there is no household that does not eat one portion of vegetables daily,” she said.
Oyedele stated that vegetables could be planted all-year round with the assistance of irrigation facilities and NIHORT had inculcated that into the training.
“This will give them the expertise to be able to grow vegetables in different seasons,” she said.
Oyedele, who is also the institute’s Director of Research, stated that the training was primarily targeted at the youth, as they constituted a formidable force.
According to her, this will enable NIHORT to tap into their zeal, passion and their strength to achieve the desired purpose.
She advised Nigerian youths to tap into opportunities that abounded around them, charging them to particularly get busy with opportunities in agriculture.