NDE targets 3,000 jobs from agricultural park
•To produce pencils, toothpicks
About 3,000 new jobs are expected to be generated when the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Agricultural park in Sabuwa, Katsina State begins operation, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige has said.
Speaking in Abuja while switching on the Smart Farmer (REMIS) platform in Abuja, Ngige explained that the agricultural park would begin operation within the next one month.
He added: “I have directed the NDE to commence operations at the NDE Agricultural park located in Sabuwa, Katsina state in the next one month. We are confident that over 3,000 new jobs will be generated in the first instance within the agricultural value chain when the park comes on stream.”
Ngige, who also chairs the Board of the NDE, revealed that the Directorate has concluded plans to commission two new small-scale businesses that will produce pencils and toothpicks locally.
The Minister urged young entrepreneurs to seize the opportunities inherent in the current economic recession by investing in unexplored areas of the economy.
“The uniqueness of the ‘NDE pencil’ derives from the fact that it is made from waste paper and not wood. Each of the two enterprises will generate over 100 jobs on commencement. As a way of reviving the small-scale industries, the NDE is encouraging young local entrepreneurs to commence the local production of items currently on the Nigerian Custom Service import prohibition list. By so doing, such budding enterprises are guaranteed a ready market which will ensure their survival,” he said.
Ngige insisted that the combination of productive activities in the agricultural sector and ICT will surely makes Nigeria’s journey towards repositioning agriculture as one of the cornerstones of the economy.
Indeed, it is projected that through the smart farmer application, the NDE will inject about 490,000 new jobs into the economy in the next three years.
On his part, the Acting Director General of NDE, Kunle Obayan, said one of the factors that worked against previous attempt at diversifying into agriculture is the failure to get young people on board.
His words: “One of the factors that militated against previous attempts at putting agriculture in the driving seat of our national economy had been the inability of policy implementers to get young Nigerians sufficiently committedly involved in agriculture as a viable business.
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