Prof. Veronica Obatolu, the Executive Director, Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, has called on youths to actively engage in livestock farming to create jobs and generate income.
Obatolu made the call on Thursday at a training programme on livestock farming organised by IAR&T in Ibadan.
She said the youth engaging in livestock farming such as: goat, rabbit, snail rearing would guarantee good returns and would be a lucrative income generator. The executive director said that this would also help the country in terms of food security and generate more income.
She noted that Nigeria was endowed with favourable climate, soils and human resource for agricultural production.
According to her, with increased productivity, commercialisation and enhanced competitiveness of agricultural production, the core objectives of employment creation, food security and increase in incomes among farmers will be realised.
She said that IAR&T was focused in aligning with government policy through research and extension such as this training on different aspects of farming practices.
Obatolu said that the institute, therefore, worked tirelessly so that the objectives of food security could be realised through improved yields along the crop value chain system.
She urged the farmers to form and join cooperative groups for purposes of bulking their produce to attract big markets.
Also speaking, the Head of Maize Improvement Programme, IAR&T, Prof. Samuel Olakojo, urged the participants to consider the training as a golden opportunity and take maximum advantage of it.
“Army worm will always exist on farms; it can only be controlled. So maize farmers should always prepare to fight it even as they prepare to plant,’’ he said.
The Head of Livestock Improvement Programme, IAR&T, Dr Festus Ajayi, noted that snail production was lucrative, easy and cheap to establish.
“Snail is a delicacy across the world; it is low in fat, cholesterol; it has high iron content; good to tackle anaemia; and rich in potassium, magnesium. So the production is very important.
“We will take you through the whole value chain in snail production and we assure you that your farms will expand after the training. The training will guide you on how to market the business also,’’ Ajayi said.
A participant, Mrs Ibukun Iroku, said the training was timely for them as the livelihood of farmers and citizens by extension would improve.
Iroku, on behalf of others, thanked the organisers for deeming it fit to organise such a training.
The training focused on dissemination of improved technologies in snail production; management of fall army worms on maize fields; and income generation from under-utilised legumes.
No fewer than 260 farmers cut across the Southwest zone participated in the training.