Youth Empowerment: Nigerian Air Force Flags Off Farming Season
In continuation of efforts at empowering dependants of personnel in productive ventures, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), on 2 May 2018, flagged off the new farming season at 107 Air Maritime Group (107 AMG), Benin. The farming scheme is part of the Base Youths Empowerment Programme Through Agriculture (BYETA) initiated in 2016 by the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, as part of efforts at empowering Barracks youths in all NAF Bases across the country, by training them in different aspects of agriculture towards positively engaging them in productive ventures. In the current farming season, more than 25 youths in 107 AMG, who are engaged in crop (pineapple and plantain), fish and poultry farming, have benefitted from the programme.
Flagging off the farming season, the Guest of Honour, the National President of the Nigerian Air Force Officers’ Wives Association (NAFOWA), Hajiya Hafsat Sadique Abubakar, expressed delight over the turnout of youths who had shown interest in the scheme. The NAFOWA President stated that the BYETA programme was intended for Barracks youths but could accommodate wives of personnel that are interested in farming. According to her, the programme would positively engage the youths in productive enterprises while their parents are away on security operations across the country. She urged the youths to take maximum advantage of the programme to enhance their economic wellbeing. The NAFOWA President introduced the first batch of fish into the pond to kick start the BYETA 2018 farming season. Thereafter, she inspected the pineapple and plantain section of the farm.
Eralier in his opening remarks, the Commander 107 AMG, Air Commodore Emmanuel Shobande stated that the Base Youth Empowerment Programme was an initiative of Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar in fulfillment of his vision as enshrined in one of the key drivers, which bothers on human capacity development. He further mentioned that the CAS, in his wisdom did not restrict this vision to personnel alone but deemed it fit to extend the gesture to children and wards of personnel. According to him, the BYETA Programme was designed to empower and equip the youths in the NAF Base with necessary skills and knowledge geared towards self employment, increased productivity and financial independence. The Commander further pointed out that the programme had positively influenced the youths residing on the NAF Base in Benin. He acknowledged that the programme had also fostered unity among the Base youths and had made idleness unattractive on the Base. It is noteworthy that the youths are formed into cooperative for the purpose of securing loans from banks. The Unit kickstarted the programme with the breeding of over 1000 fish as well as the cultivation of 500 pineapple suckers and 300 plantain suckers.
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