In its bid to make Ogun State self-sufficient in agro commodities production, the state Government has trained smallholder farmers on the cultivation of tomato and chili pepper for the purpose of job creation and food security.
The training, held at the Eweje Farm Institute, Odeda in collaboration with GIZ, European Union, is targeted at empowering 3,000 youths and women on tomato and chili pepper empowerment programme (TOMAPEP) value-chains.
While flagging off the training, wife of the state Governor, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun said the exercise was in tandem with the administration’s goal geared towards job creation and food sufficiency through agriculture.
She said the categories of stakeholders from the largest part of food security actors had attracted the attention of local, national and international agencies responsible for the support.
Abiodun charged the participants to explore the insights gained at the training towards best agricultural practices, assuring that the state will not relent at empowering youths and women in various agricultural opportunities.
“I wish to admonish participants to consider themselves as important pilots that will receive first-hand information and support that will determine how other registered participants embrace this opportunity.
“Ogun State Government will continue to prioritize support to youths and women in commodities and trade that naturally endows them to succeed. I urge you to fully explore the training institute, event in other areas aside tomato and pepper, which include cassava demonstration farms, aquaculture facilities and others,” she said.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina said earlier in the year, Ogun and Lagos states launched Nigeria Competitiveness Project (NICOP), aimed at assisting farmers in cultivating tomato and pepper.
He described the Farm Institute as an ideal training center where farmers are groomed on good modern and mechanized agricultural practices.
Odedina chronicled other feats recorded at the Institute to include, Ogun Broiler Project that empowered 54 youths with 1,000 day-old chicks in three successful cycles, Cassava Revolution Demonstration farms projected to yield 40 to 50 tons per hectare after harvest, aqua-cultural dams, fish ponds among others.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Alhaja Hairat Ogunmoye, lauded the initiative, expressing optimism that each participant will get the best out of the training in tomato and chili pepper cultivation.