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Ogun State Government in collaboration with GIZ, European Union, has embarked on training for youths and women in cultivating tomato and chili pepper empowerment programme (TOMAPEP) value-chains.

Flagging off the training exercise at Eweje Farm Institute, Odeda, wife of the state Governor, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun said, the exercise aims at empowering 3,000 small holder farmers towards increased productivity, like linkages with inputs, credits, markets, job creation and food security.

She added that the training was in tandem with the present administration’s goal geared towards job creation and food sufficiency through agriculture saying, the categories of stakeholders from the largest part of food security actors had attracted the attention of local, national and international Agencies responsible for Agricultural support.

“This event is in tandem with the goal of Agriculture in the state as it affects job creation, Food Security and Nutrition and Industrial linkage . The articles involved in the training which are tomato, pepper, Chilli and Garment/Leader have a unique natural target group of youth, women and rural/small holder farmers”, she said.

Mrs Bamidele charged the participants to explore the insights gained at the training towards best agricultural practices, assuring that the state government will not relent at empowering youths and women in various agricultural opportunities.

“I wish to admonish participants to consider themselves as important pilots that will receive first-hand information and support that will determine how other registered participants embrace this opportunity.

“Ogun State Government will continue to prioritize support to youths and women in commodities and trade that naturally endows them to succeed. I urge you to fully explore the training institute, event in other areas aside tomato and pepper which include Cassava demonstration farms, Aquaculture facilities and others.”, she said.

Welcoming guests at the event, Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina, noted that earlier in the year, Ogun and Lagos States launched Nigeria Competitiveness Project (NICOP), aimed at assisting farmers in cultivating tomato and pepper.

He described the Farm Institute as an ideal training centre where farmers are groomed on good modern and mechanised agricultural practices.

He chronicled other feats recorded at the Institute to include, Ogun Broiler Project that empowered 54 youths with 1,000 day-old chicks in three successful cycles, Cassava Revolution Demonstration farms projected to yield 40 to 50 tons per hectare after harvest, aqua-cultural dams, fish ponds among others.

Speaking on behalf of the participants, Alhaja Hairat Ogunmoye, lauded the initiative, expressing optimism that each participant will get the best out of the training in tomato and chili pepper cultivation.

She pleaded with the state government to sustain the training exercise so that more farmers in other parts of the state could equally benefit and become financially stable.

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