The Abia State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Kenneth Nwosu, has said that the state government would sponsor 320 youths to the Songhai centre in Benin Republic to learn modern agricultural technology.
Nwosu said in Umuahia last Tuesday that the gesture was part of the youth empowerment programme of the state government.
The commissioner said those selected would be trained in bee-keeping, snail production, poultry, aqua-culture as well as crop production and value addition.
According to him, the beneficiaries will be empowered financially and assisted with loans to enable them start their own businesses.
“We will train and equip them to start up their own businesses to be able to employ other people. Honey and snail production are now very important areas in agriculture, considering the cost of bottles of honey and snails in the market. So the idea is that some of them will come back to the state and become part of the resource people we will also have at the Abia Liberation Farms,’’ Nwosu said.
According to him, the government will also encourage the youths to establish their own businesses, thereby creating small entrepreneurs at various levels.
Nwosu said the training was a veritable source of empowerment, adding: “If you are talking of employment, agriculture is one of the sure targets and it will continue to provide the basis for employment in this country.’’
He said that sponsorship of the trainees was expensive and would cost the state government a fortune noting that the government to agree to do that, means it has the interest in the youth.
The commissioner said the training would last for three months.
Meanwhile, Abia State government says it will complete the upgrading of Umuopara Regional Water Scheme in Umuahia before the end of the year.
The Acting General Manager, Abia State Water Board, Mr Leo Ogbonna, who made the announcement in an interview on Tuesday in Umuahia said that the water scheme would be upgraded from 33 million cubic metres to 55 million cubic metres to meet the water needs of residents of Umuahia.
According to him, the project which commenced two years ago was jointly executed with a foreign technical support.
He said that the board was currently replacing the old asbestos pipes with rubber pipes, adding that the board was currently pumping water three times a week to some parts of the state capital.
Ogbonna pledged the determination of the government to provide potable water to all parts of the state.
He also announced that the government had approved the reactivation of 57 rural water schemes across the state before the end of the year.
“Under the reactivation of the rural water schemes, the board will undertake 20 of the faulty rural water bore holes before the end of April, 2014,’’ he said.
Ogbonna appealed to the people to protect public utilities in their communities from vandalism.