ABUJA – Leventis Foundation Nigeria has trained no less than 25,000 since it began operation in Nigeria in 1988, Executive Director of the foundation, Dr Hope Usieta, has said.
Addressing journalists in Abuja recently at a symposium to mark the 30th anniversary of the foundation, Usieta said the organization offered one year tuition-free trainings for farmers in its six schools across the nation.
The schools, located in Kaduna, Kano, Gombe, Abuja and two other states in the country are run in partnership with host state governments, he said.
He also said the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development appreciated the programme from inception.
According to him, the schools trained farmers in different aspects of agriculture as the farmers remain on campus for a year.
“They do crop production, livestock production; we go a step further to teach them value addition skills through our rural development department. We also teach them farm machinery. Those are the four components of the programme,” he said.
He added: “The idea the founding fathers of the foundation had was to contribute to the educational policy of government at the time it was established, which was to build the nation’s agricultural sector.”
“We’ve trained so far more than 25,000 youths through our one-year regular programme and through our short courses. Each school has capacity to admit 100 hundred to 150 students per year. On average, we graduate 700 farmers across our schools.
“After the training, the foundation does follow up the trainees and also offers them extension services, including micro loans for those who could not secure loan from banks or government,” he stated.
International organizations are also interested in the programme, including the US embassy. The US ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, who lauded the foundation’s commitments while being conducted round the exhibition of products by the trainees among other dignitaries, said the efforts would improve food sufficiency, alleviate poverty and boost job creation in the nation.