The Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has been described as the best person ever to occupy the seat since the ministry was established.
This was the conclusion of a cross section of participants who graduated last Friday, from the four-week agribusiness training conducted by Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology, Ibadan, Oyo State.
Over 250 entrepreneurs participated in the training programme on fisheries and poultry. The curriculum included production, marketing, processing, agribusiness and getting access to finance.
At the end of the course, each of the 90 graduates in the fisheries programme got 400 fingerlings and feeds to nurture the fingerlings for four months, free of charge.
About 140 people graduated in the poultry course. Each of them received, free of charge, 100 day-old chicks and feeds for three months.
One of the participants, Alhaji Owolabi Idris, praised Adesina for the programme: "only God can reward him. I thought it was a mere play until I got here. We were taken through rigorous theory and practical classes.
"Those who performed below 75 per cent were dropped. The minister has thought me how to fish, and has given me fishes for me to go and multiply, he is the best in the history of Nigeria."
Madam Mojisola Ariyo, who took part in the poultry course remarked thus: " I have never seen a thing like this before: I came here for the four-week training. They gave us accommodation, they gave me 100 chicks, three months feeds to feed them to the point of laying and N5, 000 to transport them home, it is as if I am still dreaming."
Another participant, Mr Rashidi Odunaiya, however, pleaded with the government to continue the programme: "I want government to continue. A lot of people here are entrepreneurs and retired people. The government should continue and also find a way of encouraging the youths to show more interests," he said.
Afolake Mabadeje, who took the training course on fisheries was full of joy as she received her fingerlings, feeds and transport fare in Ibadan last Friday. In her words: "I am too happy to talk now because I don't want to start crying. My creator will help me bless these people and the minister. They have given me what I will eat, God bless them."
In his remarks, the Head of Department, Department of Vocational Training and Senior lecturer in Animal Production at the college, Dr. Adekoya Owosibo, remarked that the training was part of government efforts in the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), "to empower many people; unemployed youths, women, peasant farmers, and military and civilian retirees for self-sustenance, economic independence, job and wealth creation."