The three-day training for farmers organised by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) through its Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), has begun in Ebonyi State, South-East, Nigeria.
The training aimed at equipping the farmers with entrepreneurial skills was declared open by, IFAD-VCDP State Programme Coordinator (SPC) in Ebonyi, Mr Sunday Ituma.
The coordinator said the training was designed to assist the trainees acquire entrepreneurial skills and see agricultural activities as a viable enterprise in improving their lives.
Ituma, who was represented by the Assistant Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of IFAD-VCDP, Mr Patrick Chukwu, enthused that the trainees would be taken through theoretical and practical exercises during the course of the programme.
“We are targeting rice and cassava farmers in the value chain to help them increase their productivity, maximise their profits and build their capacities. We intend to build their capacities to the extent of making them to require extra hands to run their businesses and, in essence, become employers of labour,” he added.
In the same vein, the Rural Institution Gender and Youth Mainstreaming Officer (RIGMO) of IFAD-VCDP, Mrs. Fransica Anya, ably represented by her assistant, Mr Nnanchi Ukpai, explained that the training would help the participants perceive agricultural practices in a more lucrative and efficient perspective.
Anya added that the exercise would develop the trainees’ entrepreneurship skills to enable them explore the business opportunities in the rice and cassava value chain.
“The participants would also be exposed to simple, affordable and environmental-friendly practices in crop processing. The participants would also be tutored on the importance of workplace management and personal hygiene for crop processors and marketers,” she said.
Similarly, Lead Consultant at the training, Mrs Ajuma Atagud, urged the trainees to possess the technical know-how that would enable them become successful agribusiness entrepreneurs.
“Agro-business entrepreneurs should possess input management abilities, management of production and marketing, while competing favourably in new business environments and making profits. They must also be financially literate enough to track and record relevant information on resource movement through simple tools such as; cash, bank and stock registers,” she noted.
Another Consultant, Mr Segun Obakeye, demanded the trainees to squarely juxtapose and imbibe traits in typical farmers and entrepreneurs.
Segun said: “Typical farmers usually engage in activities for food consumption and trading, while entrepreneurs engage in activities to solve identified problems and plan towards set goals. Typical farmers take risks that are subject to their control and seek opportunities within their immediate shores, while entrepreneurs take risks that are proportionate to returns.”
On the other hand, a trainee, Miss Chinwe Okoro, praised IFAD-VCDP for the training, saying she would acquire the necessary skills that would enable her become a successful entrepreneur.