The Benin Owena River Basin Development Authority (BORBDA) has trained 70 youths on beekeeping.
The Managing Director of the authority, Mr Saliu Ahmed, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
The training, he said, was made possible with the implementation of the Graduate and Youth Empowerment Programme of the Federal Government.
The four catchment states of the river basin development authorities are; Edo, Ondo, Ekiti and Delta.
According to him, the river basin is making some strides in youth empowerment, following tremendous challenges of food production due to continued population growth in the country.
“40 of these trainees have been signed into an international off-takers of honey and bee products, who is supporting them with more hives and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for beekeeping.
“The off takers have made promise to also off take at international market rates of all their products; honey, bee wax, pollen grains”.
Saliu noted that the Federal Government had initiated several policies with special emphasis on promoting agriculture; thus turning the country into a net producer of food for both domestic and export markets.
He added that the authority had also identified some communities and acquired some lands and selected some youths in communities for agriculture mechanisation.
“We are supporting them with inputs and mechanisations to crop maize in one community and cassava in another.
“For these ones, we have also gotten off takers who will buy their harvests and sell at commercial rates when the harvest comes.
“While the cost of those inputs will be recovered to help us keep the programme running for another set of youths. It is slow, but the impact is certain. So far, the percentage of success is above average”.
The managing director said the river basin was at the forefront of implementing the Songhai Model of integrated farming.
He added that currently, one farm was in production and processing of agricultural products and the other farm has its processing units being put together.
“The Benin Owena River Basin Development Authority Songhai integrated farm model is tailored after the Songhai Model farming practice in Benin Republic.