No fewer than 140 youths from Ekiti State will benefit from a Federal Government programme, tagged National Adopted village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA).
The newly designed programme is being anchored by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Technology.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Dr Bode Adetoyi, made this known while welcoming the NAVSA team to his office in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday.
He appreciated the FMARD for choosing Ekiti as one of the pilot States for the commencement of the programme.
Adetoyi said that Ekiti State, under Fayemi, was mindful of the impact of digital technology for overall development of the society, which, according to him, explained the establishment of a Knowledge Zone in the State by the governor.
He said that the governor’s aim was to create a knowledge economy, that would be driven by digital technology across all sectors, adding that the choice of Ekiti State as one of the location for the pilot project was, therefore, timely.
The Commissioner called on NAVSA to embark on sensitisation and awareness creation for the youth to be involved in technology – driven agriculture for increased food production..
Earlier, the NAVSA team leader, Dr A. Yekinni, highlighted the objectives of the programme to include, wealth and income generation for farmers, improvement in food production to guarantee food security, as well as engaging more youths in farming activities, using digital technology.
Yekinni said that the participants registered in the programme would be exposed to digital training for a week at Ikole Ekiti, beginning from Tuesday, Dec. 15, while they would be provided with electronic devices and customized SIM cards, to facilitate their learning in their chosen farming interests.
The Team Leader said that each of the beneficiaries would also be supported with N100,000 worth of farm inputs, which are to be supplied by Ekiti State-owned Fountain Agriculture and Marketing Agency (FAMA).
He also hinted that programme participants would equally serve as Extension Agents to farmers, because they would be exposed to advanced and modern agriculture, using digital technology that would avail them the opportunity to access international best practices in farming activities.
Yekinni assured that proceeds from the product sales would be deposited in an account, for the participants to access a certain percentage of the money, while the remaining kept for re-investment in the subsequent production period.
The team leader solicited the support of the ministry and the State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) in the diligent monitoring of the programme in the State to ensure its success.