IITA Youth Agripreneurs have concluded plans to train and empower young people from Borno State, northeastern Nigeria.
The proposed 3-week training, scheduled in early September, will equip them with knowledge about modern agricultural practices and entrepreneurial skills that would make them self-dependent and able to create wealth. It will draw from the experiences and successes of the IITA model and will be conducted by youths who have been trained and empowered by IITA.
“What we intend to do is actually use agriculture to solve some of the social problems in most societies of Africa, including those of poverty and hunger,” Dr Nteranya Sanginga, IITA’s Director General said.
“Over the last few years we have seen that it is more effective for young people to train others. We want to use this approach to bring more of the youth into agriculture, take them off the job market, and reinstate stability in our communities.”
Established over 2 years ago, the IITA Youth Agripreneurs program uses learning, mentoring, and practical demonstrations of modern agriculture to attract the youth into agribusiness. The primary goals are to attract to the sector young and vibrant human capital by making farming profitable, thereby creating wealth and jobs needed in the society.
Dr Alfred Dixon, Leader of the IITA-managed project Sustainable Weed Management Technologies for Cassava Systems in Nigeria, said, “By engaging the youth in agriculture, we envision we can help to solve the problem of youth restiveness in Borno and make the State one of the major food exporters in the country.”
The training, with strong financial support from the N2Africa–to-Borno project, will have 16 youth-participants and will involve classroom lectures, on-field practical training, and interactive sessions and group exercises.
Ms Evelyn Ohanwusi, IITA Youth Agripreneur based in Ibadan, said, “We are happy to meet our peers from Borno State. We will be sharing our knowledge and experiences with them so that they can be better inspired to improve their lives through agriculture.”
Borno in the northeast is the largest state in Nigeria in terms of land mass with about 69,435 km2. The state is agrarian; it occupies the greatest part of the Chad Basin and shares borders with the Republics of Niger to the north, Chad to the northeast, and Cameroon to the east. In recent times, the State has recorded outbreaks of insurgency triggered partly by growing unemployment and poverty.
Researchers are hopeful that empowering the youth through agriculture would complement the efforts of Nigeria’s government, create wealth in communities, and lead to greater stability of the State and region.