…targets 10,000 beneficiaries
As part of concerted efforts to expose youths to diverse opportunities in agriculture, alleviate unemployment, and bolster agricultural productivity in Nigeria to grow wealth and combat poverty, the Youth in Agribusiness (YAS) project of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has successfully trained 1,918 youths in different parts of the country.
In collaboration with the government of the Netherlands, the YAS project held training sessions for beneficiaries in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oyo, Kano, and Ogun states in 2023.
The beneficiaries, comprising 543 new entrants to agriculture and 1,375 established business owners eager to enhance their knowledge and productivity, underwent ‘comprehensive’ training in the value chains of different commodities, including Poultry, Aquaculture, Horticulture, and Cassava Processing.
The objective was for participants to utilise their acquired knowledge and skills to establish successful enterprises or expand their existing businesses.
In 2023, the project’s inaugural year, the beneficiaries included 463 youths from Ogun State, 473 from the FCT, 476 from Oyo State, and 506 from Kano State.
The training covered the production, processing, marketing, and logistics components of the value chains of various commodities. Classroom teaching and field demonstrations were employed for an overall learning experience.
Additionally, beneficiaries were given the needed support, including access to markets, investors, finance, inputs, as well as coaching and mentoring. They were also educated on how to access finance by YAS implementing partner, Bopinc, a Dutch NGO.
Also, in most of the states, agribusiness hubs have been established, both for the training and post-training activities of trainees. For example, in Kano State, the project established an aquaculture hub with 1,000 jumbo-sized fish, used for the training and currently being used for continued learning by trainees.
The project’s goal is to, among other things, train 10,000 youths between the ages of 18 and 35 in viable, sustainable agribusiness enterprises using innovative climate-smart technologies and business practices that increase income and productivity. The project also aims to encourage the beneficiaries to set up full-scale production and service facilities.
Well aware of the potential of agriculture to generate employment and create wealth, the YAS project identifies youths as key drivers of this potential in Nigeria.
The beneficiaries in the various tracks applauded the free training, which they described as an eye-opener and a much-needed boost to their business and entrepreneurship aspirations.
David Ekene, one of the beneficiaries, visibly elated by the training opportunity, said he had always loved all segments of agriculture and was privileged to be part of the training.
“This has been my old time dream,” he noted, as he boasted that with what he learnt, he was prepared to build a business empire while ensuring that other people benefited from the knowledge he acquired.
Ekene stated, “I find myself privileged to be part of this great move and training. In Africa, we have the land and what it takes, but the technical knowledge on how to go about it is what YAS has brought to us. With this training, I will have an opportunity to create a business empire, not just a little business. The YAS experience is amazing, exciting, and mind-blowing.”
Also, Sanusi Rebecca Titilayo, master’s student in Oyo State, described her training experience as excellent.
She added, “I learnt aquaculture and value addition, and I have been able to learn how to set up my pond, stock the pond, feed the fish, including the business aspect of it. I don’t want to waste this knowledge; I intend to start up my pond very soon and I will progress from there. The YAS training was wonderful.”
This project aims to train 10,000 youths in diverse agricultural value chains; and support the beneficiaries who would contribute to enhancing agricultural productivity, climate resilience, access to services, and food and nutrition in Nigeria.