The Canadian government has supported 10,000 Nigerian farmers, majorly from Cross River State, with 15 million Canadian dollars.
Nigeria’s Country Representative of Cuso International, Mr Ebrima Sonko, who spoke at the Youth Leadership Entrepreneurship Access and Development (YOULEAD) Project in Abuja, on Wednesday said the scheme started five years ago intending to reduce the unemployment rate. According to him;
“The programme looks at the natural resources and agricultural sectors and value chains like pottery, fishery and cassava production, processing and distribution. The project valued at 15 million Canadian dollars was funded by the Canadian government through Global Affairs Canada.”
“The programme started five years ago. It was supposed to address key issues found in Cross River State, which had a high level of unemployment that was above the national level, close to 40 per cent. The better part was that Cross River State is naturally endowed as the best forest which covers both climate and vegetation. Therefore, we thought it was an advantage and communities were encroaching which were not meeting their livelihoods.”
Sonko further stated that;
“And there are success stories which we have brought to the donors. It does not matter which state they want to replicate it, we are willing to support the process. Young people do not like agriculture but we know they are not lazy people who don’t want to do something. We have seen a very good response from young people who worked with us. That is why our first training is not restricted to business but changing their mindsets.”
The nonprofit organization, Cuso International, whose mission is to eradicate poverty through equitable and sustainable development is also sponsored by the Canadian Government.