By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
In what he described as one of the ways out of the economic challenges, the member representing Aguata Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Hon Chukwuma Umeoji, last Saturday, February 6, empowered 104 young farmers with start off funds to enable them to set up their small scale agric businesses and become self-reliant and job creators.
The beneficiaries, who were selected from the fourteen towns that make up the Aguata LGA of Anambra State, were trained in snail, fish and grass cutter farming, at a 3-Day training which was organized and funded by Hon Umeoji and held from Feb 4-6, 2021.
Fides gathered that the beneficiaries, who were trained in two groups simultaneously at the Secretariat Hall, Aguata, and at ASCON Hall, Amesi, Aguata LGA, made up the first batch of the trainees, owing to the current coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking to Fides, the facilitator, Hon Chukwuma Umeoji, said the training was initiated to help people in the rural areas to learn and set up small scale agricultural businesses in their homes.
According to him, the beneficiaries who were trained in snail farming, grass cutter farming and fish farming, were expected to start off in small scales, and when they might have mastered the art, would be enrolled into a microfinance scheme where they would be given grants of between N2m and N10m, so as to engage in large scale farming.
In his remarks at the presentation of start off funds to the fresh farmers, held in his country home, Ezinifite, on February 6, the federal legislator said the way out of the devalued Nigerian Naira was for people to engage in agriculture. He added that in the nearest future, agriculture, digital entrepreneur and modern technology, would turn into ‘money wells’ in Nigeria, hence the need for people to key into the opportunities.
The 3-day training had the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABOA) Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Abuja, in conjunction with Ree Engineering Ltd, as the trainers.
In an interview with Fides, one of the beneficiaries of the training and Hon Umeoji’s largesse, Mrs Eucharia Onebunne, of Ekwulobia, Aguata LGA, described the training as engaging and a welcome development.
Mrs Onebunne, who was visibly elated, said she learnt how to dissect a fish for rearing, how to rear snail and grass cutter with little capital, as well as to be able to put the waste products, such as the feces of the animals into good use and make profits from them.
‘I learnt that I can go to the bush, pick some snails, make a colony for them and rear them into millions with little capital. I also learnt that grass cutter can have a colony that constitutes of a male and a female,’ she stated.
She appreciated Hon Umeoji for the empowerment programme which he organized for the benefit of his constituents, describing him as Mr Project, who the masses had felt the impact of his representation in many ways.
Another beneficiary, Mr Ikenna Ezenwa, of Umuchu, Aguata LGA, who said his focus was on grass cutter and fishery, described the empowerment programme as first of its kind.
Pointing out that he learnt that one could become a millionaire through engaging in agriculture, Mr Ezenwa applauded the federal legislator for the opportunity he gave him and others to have benefited from the programme.
Adding his voice, another participant, Comrade Ekene Oraekwe, of Oraeri, Aguata LGA, said the fishery and grass cutter farming when fully utilized, would boost the economy and become sources of healthy feeding for many people.
Comrade Oraekwe, who is the APGA Youth Leader, Aguata, encouraged the trainers to complement the goodwill of the federal legislator by empowering members of their local community with all that they learnt. According to him, Hon Umeoji had through his worthwhile representation, proved that he had the interest of the masses at heart.
Both Oraekwe and Ezenwa, who said they would also empower others through training and job creation, prayed God to continuously bless and sustain Hon Umeoji, in his endeavours.