• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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OCP Africa partners ATBU to empower young Nigerians through agric


Nigeria OCP Africa, one of the leading companies in the global production and exportation of phosphate-based fertilizers, in its quest to empower African youths through agriculture has partnered with the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) to commence the pilot phase of its Empowering African Youths (EMAY) project in Nigeria.

Empowering African Youth (EMAY) seeks to equip young Nigerians with capabilities to be self-employed and future agripreneurs.

The first phase beneficiaries of 30 youths are selected from Sokoto, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Niger, and Bauchi states, having been screened based on criteria ranging from having a certificate in agriculture, experience with farmer engagement and entrepreneurship drive among others.

The participants will undergo bespoke capacity training as developed by the faculty of Agriculture of ATBU to enable them to function as value creators across the value chains.

The Young Leaders – as the youths participating in the EMAY project are called – will be empowered with agronomy practices, technical know-how, and agricultural tools, such as mobile digital soil laboratories for soil testing and analysis, cargo tricycles to reach rural farming communities as last-mile retailers of inputs, electronic tablets for data gathering using digital solutions, and small handheld implements to enable them to deliver value to rural smallholder farmers.

Speaking at the commencement of the week-long training held at ATBU, Bauchi, Donald Madukwe, head agronomy, OCP Africa Fertilizers Nigeria said the participants will undergo specialized training by the credible tertiary institutions of learning, so they become proficient in technical and commercial skills to be able to function as service providers and independent business owners within the agricultural ecosystem, thereby eking out a means of livelihood for them.

He said that after the training and handing over of the items, the Young Leaders will be supported with monthly stipends for some initial period to enable their businesses stabilizes until they can become self-sustaining by contributing their quota in creating value to increase yields.

Madukwe said part of EMAY’s objectives, aside from creating a source of livelihood for the youths in the agricultural sector, is to empower them with the required knowledge needed to be consultants and advisors which will enable them to provide Best Agricultural Practices (BAP), agronomic and technical training and support to smallholder farmers in rural communities.

The young leaders will be issued certificates upon completion of training from ATBU.

Talking about plans with the EMAY project, OCP also intends to increase the numbers of the Young Leaders by an additional 60 come 2021, he asserted.

He said the participants will be equipped with sophisticated agro-tools to provide fertilizers and agrochemical recommendations based on soil analysis, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and digital solutions, adding that they will be given access to farm inputs from the 100 units of OCP One-stop shops currently developed across the country by OCP so that they can supply inputs to smallholder farmers in far rural communities

Muhammad Ahmad Abdulazeez, the vice-chancellor, ATBU, in his reaction, commended OCP Africa on the initiative saying that this will help increase the participation of youth in agriculture and food production in the country.

In his remark, he wishes the participants all the best and encourages them to be focused and attentive during the training session as knowledge gathered will determine the support and quality of value, they deliver to smallholder farmers.