Skills, agriculture and crude oil are major contributors to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Mrs Gloria Akobundu, the National Coordinator of NEPAD Nigeria, made the observation at the grand finale of a four-day Capacity Building Workshop for Imo Women and Youths in Owerri on Thursday.
She said the Nigerian economy was shifting from dependence on oil to agriculture, which before the advent of oil, was the main stay of the economy and had contributed immensely to the nation’s GDP.
Akobundu said that over 800 women and youths were empowered in various training on poultry, fishery, piggery and food processing during the workshop.
She said that there was the need to engage women and youths in modern farming for food security, which she said, would translate to economic development.
According to her, implementation of modern farming techniques will lead to reduction in unemployment, poverty and youth restiveness.
Akobundu said that the Federal Government was prepared to sustain the programme.
“The programme is designed to be sustained so that more people will benefit from it.
“There are people mandated to monitor the performance of the beneficiaries. We will ensure sustainability and progress of the programme, ” she said.
The Wife of Imo Governor, Mrs Nkechi Okorocha, who officially closed the programme, said that skill acquisition and agriculture were now the in thing.
She said that Imo government had initiated many agriculture programmes like “Have You Planted Palm Tree” (Ikuala Nkwu) and empowered Imo youths and women in various skills as well as made financial donations for them to start businesses.
“Agriculture is where people are now focusing in Imo. The present Imo government is passionate about youth and women empowerment,” she said.
Okorocha commended NEPAD for organising the programme and called on participants to effectively use the token they were given as start ups to practise what they had learnt.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the highpoint of the programme was the presentation of certificates and starter packs to the participants drawn from various parts of the state.
Some of the participants, who spoke to NAN, commended the Federal Government for initiating the programme and promised to put what they had learnt into practise.
The programme had the theme: “Capacity Building Workshop on Modern Farming Techniques for Women and Youths in Imo State.”