Planned Salesian Agricultural Training to
Benefit Thousands of Nigeria’s Youth, Widows

Ongoing farming at St. Joseph's Farm in Sagamu, Nigeria
Credit: Salesians of Don Bosco Ireland

At least 5,000 youth and widows in Nigeria are expected to benefit from a training in agriculture, which members of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) at St. Joseph’s farm Sagamu, Ogun State, within the territory of the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode are spearheading.

The farm that sits on a 25-hectare piece of land was started in 2014 when SDB members moved to the town of Sagamu.

In their March 10 statement, SDB members highlight some of the aspects the training at St. Joseph’s farm will cover, including “crop production, climate resilient techniques and practices, which help to increase smallholder farmers’ productivity and revenue in a sustainable way.”

They add that the project which targets “youth and the poor, especially widows and girls” will have training sessions with “100 participants involved in farming activities and will indirectly benefit more than 5,000 people.”

With a population close to 256,000 people made up of Christians, Muslims and traditionalists, Sagamu is Nigeria’s largest kola nut collecting centre.

“The region’s rich vegetation and large masses of unoccupied or unused land continue to attract people to develop an interest in agriculture,” SDB members say in the March 10 statement.  

However, they say that Sagamu has “high rates of unemployment and underemployment, as well as a low rate of formal education.”

In the March 10 statement, the Director of Salesian Missions, the U.S development arm of the SDB, Fr. Gus Baek says that young farmers at St. Joseph’s farm will be “able to practice their techniques and become better at what they do, which increases their employment opportunities.”

Fr. Baek adds, “Better employment and stable income will also help to curb migration and provide stable support for vulnerable people in the community.”

In the next few years, SDB members in Sagamu are expected to concentrate on the promotion of food production at St. Joseph’s farm. 

Some of the crops to be produced at the farm, SDB members say, include lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, maize, soybeans, cassavas, and yams among others.

“The farm is also developing a greenhouse,” SDB members say in the March 10 statement.

ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa

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