The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) says it has trained 250 rice and cassava value chain farmers to acquire entrepreneurial skills.
The training was carried out under the auspices of the IFAD -assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) at a workshop held in Abeokuta on Friday.
The workshop had as theme: “Developing Entrepreneurs in Cassava and Rice Value Chains for Apexes and other Farmers’ organisations.”
Mr Samuel Adeogun, the state VCDP Programme Coordinator, said participants were drawn from the five local governments of Ijebu North East, Ijebu East, Yewa North, Ifo and Obafemi Owode, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.
Adeogun said the objective of the training was to train farmers to acquire skills that would add value to their produce, increase their income and meet the challenges of food security in Nigeria.
He called on the participants to use the entrepreneurial skills to access other opportunities in the rice and cassava value chain beyond production.
“The primary goal of VCDP is to reduce poverty and enhance sustainable accelerated economic growth.
“Our focus is also to increase the income and food security of farmers engaged in production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava in five local governments of the state.
“The training we are giving you is the best legacy. It will enable value chain farmers to be self sustained.
“Agriculture is now a business and should be handled with business mind. I am looking forward to seeing participants who have developed themselves as employers of labour via agriculture,” he said.
Adeogun said that business skills should be implemented in the various value chains in order to grow the agricultural sector and increase rice and cassava production.
Mrs Ajuma Ataguba, the Lead Consultant, in her presentation, noted that the agriculture value chain is robust and has the capacity to curb poverty four times when compared to other human development sectors.
She said smallholder farmers need to have the mind set of an agric entrepreneur with the ability to create new concepts, ideas and methods as well as improve on products to satisfy market demand and enhance profitability.
According to her, an agric entrepreneur should be a risk taker.
Ataguba urged the participants to identify opportunities that exist within their value chains as well as approach farming as a business.
Mr Johnson Ajibola, one of the participants, commended IFAD-VCDP for the training, saying that he had learnt new ways of improving on his production and marketing skills.
He said he would apply the necessary skills that would enable him become a successful entrepreneur in agriculture.