People With Disabilities (PWDs) in Delta State have been trained on agriculture products processing skills to encourage them to be self-employed and economically self-reliant.
The 5-day intensive skills acquisition programme was Coordinated by Velma Foundation and sponsored by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), in a sustained effort to improve the livelihood of People With Disabilities (PWDs) in the Niger Delta region.
The training took place at MOM Civic Centre, Warri, headquarters of Warri South Local Government Area of the state with the participants drawn from various communities in the state.
The participants acquired practical skills in critical areas of the thriving agricultural sector, comprising cassava proccessing, fish drying, marketing of processed agro-products, easy export of agro-products, palm oil production/proccessing and juice production. They also received training on entrepreneurship, finance and planning.
The training coordinator, Mrs. Rachael Misan-Ruppee, described the scheme as a laudable initiative, saying, “the programme is quite unique and germane in building capacity in people with disabilities, as the agriculture sector opens a vista of opportunities for wealth creation in the Niger Delta region.” She noted that the training was conducted in all the states of Niger Delta.
She continued, “the beneficiaries will be able to start and manage their own businesses and employ others, thereby reducing poverty and unemployment among the physically disabled people in Niger Delta, Delta State, and Nigeria at large. It is a commendable initiative from the stable of the Federal Government, and NDDC,” she stated.
Misan-Ruppee noted that the empowerment scheme is in sync with Goals 1, 2 and 10 of the United Nations propelled Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which advocate end of poverty and hunger, food security, improved nutrition, sustainable agriculture and reduction of inequality within and among countries.
Speaking to journalists at the programme, Otobore Olumoye, a resource person who tutored the participants on financial management and planning, commended the Nigerian government, and NDDC for initiating the training and exposing the people with disabilities in the Niger Delta region to the opportunities the agriculture sector offers to them to improve their economic status.
Continuing, Olumoye implored the participants to put to practice the skills and knowledge they have acquired, even as she urged them to set a goal for themselves and utilize the opportunities in the agriculture value chain to create wealth.
The participants expressed their gratitude to Federal Government of Nigeria, and the management of NDDC for empowering them with the skills to utilize the business opportunities in the agricultural sector to be self-reliant and create wealth.
One of the participants and Secretary of the Joint National Association of People With Disabilities, (JONAPWD), Niger Delta region, Comr. Ernest Igbuzor, described the training as a welcome development, even as he charged NDDC to sustain the empowerment scheme, saying, “the training is quite laudable as it aims to build capacity in the physically disabled so that they could become self-reliant to cater to their needs and that of their families.”
The Women Leader of PWDs in Niger Delta, Kevwe Ebireri commended NDDC and Federal Government of Nigeria for the training, saying, “the programme has encouraged us to strive towards becoming agric entrepreneurs. I look forward to starting oil processing business with the skills I have learned.”
In the same vein, Comr. Oghenevwede Okuro from Ughelli South LGA, thanked the organisers of the training, saying, “many of our people will no longer be in the streets begging for alms, as the skills we have acquired will be put to practice to earn a living.”
The Chairman, of JONAPWD, Mr. T. Febugha, expressed joy at the initiative, saying, “it has given us the opportunity to acquire relevant skills to leverage the opportunities in the agriculture sector to earn a living.” Adding, “my plea is that this training should be expanded and sustained to enable more of our people benefit from it.”
Mr. Samson Akpofure, a participant of the programme from Udu LGA, said he would apply the skills he acquired to start fish processing business,and eke out a living.”