The permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr. Ernest Umakhihe has said that the ministry remains committed to the welfare of its staff.
The three-day entrepreneurship training and empowerment programme for retiring officers complied with the Federal Civil Services Strategy Implementation Plan (FCSSIP) to improve the welfare and well-being of Federal Civil Servants.
The event took place recently at the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), Abuja.
The permanent secretary, who was represented by the director, special duties, Mrs. Fausat Lawal, harped on the need for all staff to be involved in the agro-allied practices while in service, as agriculture is the only window of opportunity available for extra earnings arising from relevant rules and regulations for civil servants in government business.
He explained that the exercise would definitely mitigate the fears of the unknown by those about to retire from active service and would further develop a roadmap for sustainable livelihood among civil servants.
Speaking further, Umakhihe added that the initiative would also improve service delivery, provide a lifetime engagement after civil service, address post-retirement challenges often faced by unskilled retirees and contribute to the nation’s food security.
The permanent secretary, therefore, urged every staff of the ministry to engage in ‘backyard’ agricultural activity, being the only window or opportunity available for extra earnings arising from the constitutional provision for civil servants in government business, poverty reduction and job creation.
In his remarks, the director, legal, FMARD, Mr. Shaibu Abdulrahim commended the ministry for the initiative towards the welfare of retiring civil servants.
He advised that the product packaging, labelling and registration be documented legally.
One of the resource persons from the Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA), Mr. Austin Adegoke in his presentation said potatoes can be used for various food – flour, chin-chin, buns, smoothie, meat-pie, potato, vegetable soup, among others.
Responding on behalf of the participants, Mr. Manguts Yambans commended the ministry for the laudable empowerment programme and pointed out that “It is a privilege to be one of the participants at the agro-allied activities”.
He, therefore, promised to put the starter packs made available to them to good use.
A statement by the ministry’s director of information signed by Modupe Olatunji said the highlight of the event was the training in poultry business, production of orange-fleshed sweet potato, vegetables and marketing.