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Empowering West African Youths in Agric Value Chain: Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) trains 150 Youths in Awka, Anambra State on Table Fish Production

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The ECOWAS Commission has trained 150 youths on table fish production as part of efforts to boost job creation and support the employability of young people in the fisheries sector.

The 150 youths who underwent an intense 4-month training, took part in a graduation ceremony today March 19, 2024, at the Anambra State Polytechnic Mgbakwu in Awka the Anambra state capital.

ECOWAS developed and adopted in April 2019, a strategy to boost youth employment through the professional training of young people in the agric-food value chain. This forms part of the implementation of the ECOWAS Regional Strategy to support the employability of young people in the agro-sylvo-pastoral and fisheries sector under the ECOWAP broader implementation strategy.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Mrs. Massandjé TOURE-LITSE, the Commissioner of Economic Affairs and Agriculture, of the ECOWAS Commission encouraged the graduating youths to make use of the skills they acquired during the training.

“The skills you have acquired during these training courses are valuable assets, not only for your personal careers, but also for the economic growth of your country and of the ECOWAS community as a whole….by receiving your certificates today, you become Ambassadors of change in your community. I encourage you to apply the knowledge you have acquired to bring innovation and to actively contribute to the growth of the fishing industry in your country and in our region” she said.

She emphasized that this initiative is part of the broader ECOWAS vision to move from an ECOWAS of States to an “ECOWAS of peoples: peace and prosperity for all” by 2050.

H.E. Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo CFR, the Governor of Anambra States who was represented by Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim, the Deputy Governor of Anambra State commended ECOWAS for the intervention, noting that this training has contributed to the human capital development revolution in Anambra state.

He encouraged the graduates to use the skills acquired to grow the agricultural sector in the state noting that the state government is prepared to partner with them.

In 2023, to initiate a proactive policy of setting up young Agric Business Entrepreneurs and developing the attractiveness of the sector, the ECOWAS Commission subsidized 25 Centres in Member States. This grant covers the 15 Research Centres of Excellence and Agronomic Specialisation as well as 10 Centres of Innovation and Training in Agroecology and Organic Production. The total amount of funds provided by ECOWAS in the 15 member States is One Million thirty-three thousand nine hundred and ninety-one US Dollars (USD 1,033,991) to train 3142 young people, among whom 30% must be women.

In Nigeria, 4 Centres were selected and supported, namely NCoS Aquaculture /Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria with USD 50,040, Fisheries and Aquaculture Business Development Agency (FABDA)/ Table Fish Production (Awka) Cooperative Society Ltd with USD 58,768, Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute of Nigeria (ARMTI) with USD 51,966 and Community Allied Farmers Association of Nigeria (COMAFAS) with USD 77,942.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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