By Collins Yakubu-Hammer

The National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC) on Thursday in Abuja signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Business Visa and Training Company Ltd. on   empowering older persons to venture into agriculture.

The MoU was signed by the Director-General of NSCC, Dr Emem Omokaro and her legal team, and the Chief Executive Officer of Business Visa, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Garba and his team.

According to Omokaro, older persons create values but have no market and benefits from the value chain.

“So NSCC is engaging to identify economic crops of value, to identify uptakers and sector-wide partners, not just to give them micro credit but to enhance community prosperity.

“Business Visa is strategic to us, because, it has done some feasibility studies to see the cooperative advantage of which drops grows where and the uptake.

“So we are coming together to engage the capacity of older persons, to grant them credit and provide them with support in the seedlings, planting, harvesting and engagement of the uptakers.

“And also to ensure that older women and men are part of the process and packaging of the agricultural produce. We are here to recognised that Older Persons are assets to the community and country at large.

“NSCC recognise that older persons are still creating value. 70 per cent of them are subsistence farmers; older women are assets to the community and doing things that are not acknowledged and not paid for,” Omokaro said.

The NSCC boss explained that the mandate of the centre is to identify the needs of of Senior Citizens and to cater for those needs and also create opportunities they would continue to engage and earn income.

“NSCC recognised that when older persons are empowered and their assets and entrepreneurship are identified and acknowledged, then they can continue to create value.

” If you recall, one of our first outings was a private sector roundtable where we were exploring every possibility of getting into a partnership with the private sector and businesses that would recognise the value the older people create.

“Today, NSCC intent on creating programmes and avenues for promoting continue engagement opportunities has metamorphosed into partnership with Business Visa and Training Company,” Omokaro said.

Speaking, Garba said the MoU is an indication that in government, there is an alternate ear.

According to Garba, every young person today will get old some time, stressing that ageing is an inevitable journey in life.

“We in Africa respect our older persons, we don’t cage them. Some of them have a lot of aspirations. They intend to have a chance to work and exercise in the community. That is why young people normally come to them for advice.

“We want to bring out those greatness in older persons and share with the outside world. In this partnership, we will identify what we have in the land first.

“We also have uptakers that are willing. If we made it happen, they are willing to buy off the produce; so you have nothing to fear in getting involve.

“The main essence is to improve those lives, bring out the wisdom and get value for those that we are trying to improve on,” Garba said. (NAN)

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