The National Stored Product Research lnstitute (NSPRl), llorin, on Tuesday commenced the training of some NYSC members on post-harvest handling of agricultural produce in Kwara.
42 NYSC members were selected across the 16 local government areas of the state for the three-day training programme.
The training was to add value to agricultural commodities and address the high youth unemployment rate in the country.
In her remarks at the opening ceremony of the training programme, the Executive Director of the institute, Dr Patricia Pessu, said there is significant reward for youths who venture into agriculture as entrepreneurs.
“The World Bank predicts that African agriculture and agribusiness will grow to be an 890 billion Euro industry by 2030..
” This represents significant rewards for young people who tap into the industry as entrepreneurs,” she said.
The Executive Director said the training represented an opportunity for corps members to be part of the sector.
The NSPRI boss encouraged the youths to go into agribusiness because of the employment opportunities in post-harvest production.
Pessu said that efforts by various governments to engage youths in agriculture had yielded little benefits because of uninspiring agricultural production activities.
She, however, said that post-harvest value addition appeals to the educated mind given the less rigorous operations, adding that post-harvest operations require high standards of hygienic and sanitary processes.
The Commissioner for Agriculture in Kwara, Mrs Adenike Osatimehin, said that main global challenges today was how to ensure food security for the world’s growing population.
She noted that food security was being threatened by post-harvest losses, adding that there would be increased market value of harvested produce through value chain addition if losses were curtailed.
The commissioner reaffirmed the determination of the state government to redirec the agriculture sector from being a mass social service sector to a profitable agribusiness aimed at providing technical expertise to support investment.
The opening ceremony of the programme was attended by experts in the agriculture sector.