By Adedapo Adesanya
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) provided 600 young people with practical skills in greenhouse agriculture technology, aimed at propelling them to venture into the agricultural sector profitably.
FCT Agriculture based groups in the six regional councils have been trained in greenhouse management practices.
The Mandate Secretary of the FCTA Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Mr. Abubakar Ibrahim, during the inauguration of the program on Thursday, said that it was in line with the policy orientation of the FCTA based on the discovery of the abundant potential of the agricultural sector in the territory.
He said the agriculture secretariat is committed to positively engaging the large youth population in productive ventures across the various agricultural value chains.
Mr. Ibrahim noted that the secretariat turned to greenhouse crop production in 2020 as a pilot project mainly for demonstration purposes for the young FCT, which has now metamorphosed into a business with huge business benefits.
“This is part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s call on us agencies and ministries to lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
“So we are introducing a new technology (greenhouse farming in the FCT) which is a year-round program to encourage our youth and women to venture into the agricultural sector.
“Because as we all know, every day the population of Abuja is growing as people from all walks of life come looking for jobs, and we have no jobs. That is why we are introducing this new technology.
“At the end of the training, we will give them starter kits that will help them advance their skills and knowledge.
“We have already secured approval from the Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, to establish two additional new greenhouses in Bwari and Kwali Regional Councils respectively.
“My hope, before I leave office, is to replicate this in all six regional councils of the FCT,” he said.
Earlier, the FCTA Agricultural Services Manager, Ms. Ihekandu Francisca explained that greenhouse technology is a new method for rapid multiplication of agricultural produce, under controlled climatic and environmental conditions for increased crop yield.
She added that the training will empower farmers, ensure self-sufficiency in sustainable agriculture, reduce youth unrest, rural-urban migration of youth, create jobs and reduce poverty in the territory.
Furthermore, the Station Manager of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Kubwa, Mr. Lateef Sanni, noted that the organization has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for partnership with the FCTA.
He said one of the first case studies was the issue of using Greenhouse technology, which was the practical demonstration of green innovation.
Mr. Sanni added that it is also a helping hand tool for young people, as it is more or less an urban farming system, with a market available for the produce. .
“On behalf of IITA, I want to complement the initiative with solar house technology for post-harvest processing and preservation, which we have done in other countries.
“I want to openly congratulate the Minister of State for the FCT, the kind and productive Secretary of Mandate and the Trustees for taking this initiative.” If we all work together, we will definitely create more jobs for young people and improve our economic development as a nation.
Experts say greenhouse farming is a type of agriculture in which crops are grown in an under-protected and enclosed environment.
Greenhouse agriculture is becoming very popular in Nigeria due to its advantages of keeping pests and diseases away and its yield advantage comparable to open field cultivation of crops.