• Monday, December 11, 2023
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Soy Excellence Center, ITF collaborate to boost Nigeria’s protein consumption

Soy Excellence Center, ITF collaborate to boost Nigeria’s protein consumption

The Soy Excellence Center (SEC) has collaborated with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to boost protein consumption in Africa’s biggest economy.

The partnership between the SEC- a US Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the ITF of Nigeria, funded in part by the United Soybean Board, is aimed at equipping early-to-mid-career protein professionals and enterprises in Nigeria with the skills and knowledge necessary to drive innovation and growth in Nigeria’s agricultural sector while supporting the needs of protein enterprises to access world-class curricula.

Currently ranked as the 15th most populous country globally, Nigeria is poised to become the third most populous nation within the next 25 years.

Considering this growth, it is imperative to invest in capacity-building and workforce training initiatives to meet the future demands in this sector.

“This strategic partnership between ITF and USSEC in a curriculum-based skills training program through its SEC allows us to access world-class learning platforms and resources,” said Lami Dakwak, director of the technical & vocational skills training department, ITF.

Representing the DG, Dakwak said, “The focus on soybean farming, poultry, and aquaculture helps us address food security issues, promote good nutrition, and prepare our people to take on the challenges of trade and commerce.

“This partnership also delivers solutions to balance Nigeria’s current job creation, employability, and empowerment needs for Nigerian youths while building capacity in the agricultural and protein value chain. This partnership is vital to our vision of a vibrant and rising Nigeria.”

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This public-private partnership plays a vital role in Nigeria’s strategic planning as it prepares to accommodate a rapidly expanding population.

“USSEC’s SEC programming leverages the knowledge of the US soy industry,” Jim Sutter, CEO, USSEC, said.

“We are proud to collaborate with the ITF of Nigeria and industry to help advance the Nigerian protein industry, delivering a world-class training curriculum to empower trainees with relevant skills and help promote local economic growth,” he added.

Reflecting on the partnership, Kevin Roepke, regional director of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, USSEC said, “This historic agreement is emblematic of the power of public-private partnerships. By leveraging the SEC’s outreach, USSEC and ITF can further achieve greater nutritional security by creating value for Nigeria’s protein sectors.

“As 45 percent of Nigeria’s population consumes well below global protein recommendations, USSEC is confident this partnership will help be a catalyst to grow Nigeria’s animal protein industries.”

The SECs, according to a statement made available to BusinessDay, remain dedicated to fostering a sustainable and thriving protein industry in Nigeria through comprehensive capacity-building and workforce training initiatives.

With nearly 160 participants undergoing primary and intermediary courses in poultry and feed milling courses in just this year, and with the active participation of nearly 360 protein professionals in the bespoke digital community, the SECs have said they are democratising access to their excellent and learned course advisors, other like-minded protein professionals in Nigeria and around the world.

“This access to knowledge anytime, anywhere, digitally is crucial to scaling the vision and commitment of this MoU in support of a rising Nigeria,” the statement said.