By Mike Eboh & Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA — The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with a civil society organisation, Agricultural Graduates Association of Nigeria, AGAN, for the setting up of a $4.95 million, about N1.5 billion, Agriculture and Waste Recycling, AWARE, Project to empower women and youths in Nigeria.
Addressing newsmen during the stakeholders’ forum in Abuja, Director, Agriculture Extension Department of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Department, Mr. Ime Umoh, said the ministry, through its Women and Youth department would provide technical support for the project and help in coordinating and organising farmers into cooperatives.
He further stated that the Agriculture ministry would also ensure that the fertilizer to be generated from the plant is of high quality, while it would help in the training of women and youths on the best ways to go about recycling waste into fertilizers.
Also speaking, Founder/National President of AGAN, Mr. Michael Egbuta, said the Abuja waste recycling plant which is proposed to cost about $4.95 million, is the pilot project, adding that there are plans to extend the project across the 36 states of the federation to cater for a larger number of women across the country.
Egbuta disclosed that the project is aimed at providing empowerment and sustainable income sources to youth and women by engaging them in organic fertilizer production from the huge household organic waste and recycling of the non-biodegradable components.
According to him, the organic fertilizer produced would be used for farming and sold to other farmers while the non-biodegradable waste such as plastics, aluminum cans, glass wares, papers, metals, among others, would be processed into recycled raw materials to be sold to local manufacturing industries.
He said: “The FCT Youth and Women Agriculture and Waste Recycling Project, AWARE Project, is a tripartite collaborative project involving the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Agriculture Graduates Association of Nigeria, AGAN, and the FCT Traditional Council.
“The project came into being owing to the rate of youth and women unemployment in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, which has assumed an alarming trajectory. This scenario no doubt constitutes a threat to the peace and security of life and property in Abuja and environs.
“Other issue of concern in the FCT which the project intends to address is the poor state of municipal solid waste management. Huge volume of waste is generated daily in Abuja but the current waste management practice involves only a linear process of collection and the wholesale transportation of the waste to dumpsites which are bursting at the seams without any treatment whatsoever. This practice is unsustainable as it is not environment-friendly.”
Describing the project, Egbuta explained that a cluster would work in a common facility utilisation outfit, which will involve in this case, the building of a Standard Material Recovery Facility, MRF.
According to him, the MRF will be compartmentalised into a general waste dumping/sorting bay; specific sorting sections for plastics, papers, iron/aluminum cans, pvc; plastic/paper/metal baling section, plastic crushing/shredding section, organic waste shredding section, composting section, compost sieving and bagging section, warehouses for organic fertilizer and recycled materials, cloak room, conveniences and bathrooms and general administrative offices.
He added that the facility in each Area Council would be furnished with relevant equipment such as baling/compressing & crushing machines, forklifts, wheeled front pay loader machines, open back trucks, weigh bridge, hay/vegetable shredding machines, mechanical sieving machine, power generating sets, boreholes, wheelbarrows, personal, protective equipment, first aid kits, among others.
“Waste collected from households and business premises in the FCT by both government authorised and private waste management companies would be first taken to the Material Recovery Facility where manual sorting would be carried out. The different components of the waste sorted would be moved to the respective processing sections for further value addition processes and onward sales to end-users or off-takers.”