By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Farmers in Rivers State have received a boost from a non-profit making organization, Skills Outside School Foundation, SOSF, on a new approach to food production.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Media and Communication Officer, SOSF, Benny Atsua, where it explained the essence of the Foundation reaching out to farmers as efforts to feed the rising population has become a serious task as it involves an increase in food production on lesser acres, but with the intervention, farmers could do more to surmount some of the challenges they grapple with.
The Foundation built the capacity of cassava and plantain farmers in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State with its Agropreneur intervention programme in partnership with Access Bank, Bank of Agriculture, BoA, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, and ACT Foundation to assist the farmers.
The Foundation focuses on education, employability, and entrepreneurship through its core pillars: data, interventions, and advocacy with a vision that “a world with human capital to drive transformational social and economic development.”
While its mission to achieve data-driven innovative education, employability, and entrepreneurship interventions and advocacy that drive sustainable growth and development.
The statement reads in part, “Capitalizing on the gap in the agricultural sector, the SOSF Agropreneur Intervention came in response to the organization’s demands under its Headstart Programme which focuses on providing training, mentoring, funding and advisory support programme for entrepreneurs across sectors to start, sustain and scale their businesses.
“The Agropreneur Intervention is focused on entrepreneurial clusters in the agriculture sector through community-based groups and cooperatives with a goal to developing farming clusters that can achieve higher yields and support farmers to engage in value addition of high value raw agricultural produce.
“Beneficiaries collectively receive technical and business skills training, funding and advisory services on production and access to markets.”
According to the statement the Rivers State Agropreneur intervention programme took 133 participants through business training. “This session which had in attendance 246 participants were focused on increasing the business knowledge and skills of the farmers to help them further understand the business side of their farming and how to maximize profits from their yields. The farmers were taken through basic financial management and cash flow system.
“Technical Training; Handled by facilitators from International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), this session which had 133 participants were focused on training farmers on best agronomic practices in cassava farming, the correct use of herbicides, soil fertility management, and common pests and diseases that affect cassava.
“Practical Training; where participants were trained on the proper use of herbicides to maintain safety and effectiveness of the chemicals used.”
However, the statement added that “With the outcomes from this programme, SOSF calls on Government, organizations, and bodies to support the phase two which will include furthering our impact to the community and expanding to other communities and states.”
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