Obansa Ibrahim, Lokoja
The permanent Secretary, Ministry of agriculture and Food Security, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe on Saturday Commissioned the Agribusiness Incubation Center located at Federal University Lokoja.
The commissioning took place on Saturday during the 6th and 7th Convocation ceremony of the institution.
The permanent secretary, said that Government is ready and committed to sustain and ramp-up the momentum of the present growth in the agricultural sector by providing needed enabling environment to boost the entire efforts of the farmers, entrepreneurs and investors along the entire Agricultural Value Chain.
The permanent Secretary also baggage Doctorate Degree, honoris causa of the Federal University Lokoja.
Speaking further, he said more efforts are being channeled towards promoting local and foreign partnerships to boost the present level of trade and investment in agriculture as a veritable strategy for the economic diversification of our Great country
He noted that the Incubation centre is being established as a Special Centre of Excellence to support and promote food security in Nigeria, and to support youth and women empowerment as well as promote employment generation, wealth creation and poverty reduction through the development of viable agribusiness and entrepreneurship skills in different Agricultural Value Chains across the country.
His words, “The focus of the centre include; enhancing production capacity, value addition, quality control and standards, and opening access to local and international markets for our agricultural produce. The project is aimed at facilitating and attracting investments into the agricultural sector, ensuring survival and sustainability of agri-based businesses and increasing domestic food production and exports.
“The centres will serve as practical knowledge hubs where best practical skills, processes and inputs can be acquired on particular commodities. These centres will also produce young generation of successor farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs who can adapt new technologies and innovations across the segments of commodities enterprise/value chain of production, processing, storage and marketing.
“The centre is equipped to provide business basics through comprehensive training programmes along commodity Value chains and business start-ups including access to bank loans and other funds and guarantee programmes. The centre will support Market research, linkage to strategic partners, access to investors and the development of business plans and business networking etc.
He noted that it’s hoped that the Agribusiness Incubation Centre will serve as a practical and innovative approach to support and promote growth of Agribusiness, trade and investment not only in Kogi state but, in Nigeria at large. I am therefore hopeful that the University will explore this opportunity and make the best use of the centre and prove its support as a formidable institution in the concerted efforts of the government to grow the nation’s economy using the agricultural sector.
He therefore urged the management to embark on advocacy, awareness promotion and sensitization of youth, women and other beneficiaries across the university catchment area and even beyond to take advantage of this project.
Speaking also the Vice Chancellor of the University Lokoja, Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi, said the university will put the Agribusiness Incubation Center to proper use in the advancement of agriculture in the Ivory tower.
He commended the ministry of agriculture for the initiative, saying that the center will help the students, particularly those majoring in Agriculture in their studies .