Soilless Farm Lab has launched the Enterprise for Youths in Agriculture (EYiA) initiative in partnership with Mastercard Foundation to train 12,000 youths in technology-enabled vegetable production in three years.
The initiative aims to leverage technology and innovation in boosting fresh vegetable and fruit production in Africa’s most populous country while creating jobs for the country’s unemployed youth population.
Samson Ogbole, team lead of Soilless Farm Lab during the launch of the initiative said 1,000 youths will be trained every quarter under the initiative, translating to 4,000 youths yearly.
“The EYiA initiative in partnership with Mastercard Foundation is geared towards providing opportunities for youths in agriculture,” Ogbole said.
“Our goal is to improve the livelihood of youths and women by training and creating job opportunities for 12,000 direct beneficiaries and 45,000 indirect beneficiaries,” he said.
“Our objectives are fully aligned and practically involved in tackling the UN Sustainable Development Goals and our focus is on 5 SDG goals,” he added.
According to him, the free training initiative will form the largest vegetable cluster in the country with the students grouped into 50 clusters with each representing a company.
He stated that each cluster will have teachers who will be training the youths on various roles within the company for three months, noting that the training will involve theoretical, practical, and farm setup.
He explained that the initiative will provide each cluster with three plots of land to set up their hydroponics farm and will become a revenue-generating business after the completion of the training, noting that the entrepreneurship initiative is for students between 18-30 years.
He added that each cluster would be registered as a business and the students will be supported with branding and marketing of their products upon completion and will have access to off-takers and regional markets.
Stipends will be provided for selected youths all through the three-month training period, according to him, noting that the focused vegetables are; lettuce, spinach, celery, kale, tomatoes, ugu and spinach.
The team lead said the training and project location will cover 144 acres of land in Ogun State and would have an expected output of 12,000 graduates, 240 cooperative groups that will create 31,200 agribusiness jobs, and 45,000 youths skilled in hydroponics.
He noted that there will be post-training and mentorship will be available also while calling on interested participants to visit https://sfarmlab.com/EYiA to register.