56 youths from NEPAD (New Partnership for Africas Development) project have been staying at Songhai Regional Center in Porto-Novo since the end of September 2018. They were selected and admitted to the Center for a three-month training following a national call for applications.

This training in Songhai should help beneficiaries acquire modern technical knowledge to boost the agriculture and agribusiness sector in Benin. It is part of the implementation of the Decent Jobs and Entrepreneurship in Agriculture and Agribusiness Project for Rural Youths in NEPAD. The financial support is provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, which aims above all at creating decent employment opportunities for young people through the establishment of agricultural and agro-industrial businesses. A goal that fits well into the vision of the current government, said Françoise Assogba Komlan, representative of the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, at the launching ceremony. The Beninese government, convinced that the key to eradicating poverty lies in the creation and expansion of decent jobs in rural areas, approves of this project, according to the Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture. Françoise Assogba Komlan also wishes more of this type of initiative for the insertion into agricultural activities of the young population which, according to her, is turning away more and more from agriculture and rural areas mainly due to the hardness and the low remuneration of agriculture.

The Coordinator of the Decent Jobs and Entrepreneurship in Agriculture and Agribusiness Project for Rural Youths in NEPAD, Emmanuel Zinsou, insisted on the rigorous process that led in June to the selection of 56 young agro-entrepreneurs out of a total of 143 applications received from the various regions of Benin. He urged the trainees to regular attendance and discipline throughout the training, after which the five best of them will be selected and financially supported in the setting up or development of their respective businesses.

Justin Lèkoto, representing the Director of Songhai Center, reassured all as to the quality of the training that will be given, so that at the end of the project, the objectives pursued are achieved.

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