By Lawrence Nwimo
The lawmaker representing Awka North and South in the Federal House of Representatives, Sam Chinedu Onwuaso, has empowered 400 constituents through training on ways to harness agriculture opportunities with focus on available strategies and food security. They were also exposed to investments into agro-allied businesses.
The training was done in collaboration with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development NEPAD to ready them for loans which will be offered to the participants made up of youths and women in Awka North and South federal constituency, Anambra state.
Speaking at the two-day programme, Onwuaso stated that the empowerment was part of the budget signed in his tenure adding that the essence was to build the capacity of the youths and women in readiness to actively engage in yielding agricultural businesses.
He later assured newsmen that the participants would be provided with loans to start up different farming businesses and other businesses of their choice and that the programme had plans to empower 2,000 individuals who will be split into batches of 400 beneficiaries at a time.
“We have plans to empower 2,000 youths and women. We have the first batch which is 400 that benefited today and we hope to do a batch of five that will make it 2,000. Next batch will be around February or March next year. We could have achieved more than that this year but for COVID -19 pandemic.
“The programme is what we use to support them. They will start up with the little we have given to them and then build the experience to access the main part of the loan which is what the CBN offers.”
The lawmaker noted that the activity was part of his election promise to the people to empower them and create capacity so that everybody will not be dependent on government but to start something on their own while they wait for government support.
While adding that the programme would help alleviate some basic problems in the country like unemployment, the lawmaker said it would also enable people think deep about their immediate localities and see what is available in them. He also urged the beneficiaries to take what they obtained in the training seriously as such opportunity may not come easily again.
Noting the significance of the workshop, Barr. Nnamdi Anagor said that the training is very crucial as it enlightens the participants on the effective use of the loans given to them for their businesses. ” part of what we are doing today is to teach them a particular business after which finance will be given to them to start up their individual businesses.”
Other facilitators who spoke at the event educated the participants on facilities and the processes to effectively manage loan facilities even as they highlighted the major pitfalls associated with various businesses. In furtherance of the lecture, youths and women development as well as ICT product marketing strategies was made known to the participants by the facilitators.
Speaking to Orient Daily, a participant Comrade Arinze Chinwuko, said that the programme exposed him to good financial management skill even as it will help him establish his own farm through the loan he will obtain at the end of the programme.
Chinwuko, who is a member of Young Farmers Association, Anambra state, described it as a rare opportunity that should be grabbed, adding that such was a very commendable project from the house member. He, however, urged youths to leave the quest for white collar jobs and cue into farming because “abundant opportunity lies in it,” he said.
Another participant who gave his name as Okoye Osita, a youth leader in Awka Ward 7, said, “we have not seen this type of workshop in Awka before. They taught us how we can manage our businesses. I have a lot of experience in poultry because I have been in the trade. Today, we were trained on how to invest, nurture and how to market our businesses. All the ideas they have just exposed us to are useful to us as it will enable people like me manage my own business better.”