The IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) have convened a 3-week intensive agricultural training for selected young people from Borno State. Areas of focus cover on-field sessions on fish farming and production, processing and marketing of maize, cowpea, soybean, millet, groundnut, and sorghum. The training is another in a series of youth empowerment campaigns in Nigeria that the IYA have organized since their inception in 2012. It also endorses the replication of the IITA youth in agribusiness model in Borno.
At the opening session, 3 September, Molayo Owoeye, leading the team of Agripreneur-facilitators from IITA Headquarters in Ibadan, stated “This training will harness the potential of Borno youth to create their own employment, identify the strengths of trainees, and proffer the knowledge and skills required to generate wealth successfully from agriculture.” She added, “The training in particular is about developing entrepreneurial skills in agriculture, helping young people to identify and make use of their innate potentials, strengthen weaknesses, exploit opportunities, and eliminate threats in terms of doing business in agriculture.”
Entrepreneurship in agriculture has become a critical pathway in many African countries for creating employment and simultaneously driving productivity and economic growth. National programs invest in young people with multidisciplinary backgrounds to catalyze economic development while at the same time reducing unemployment and creating income through agribusiness. To support this drive, IYA are motivated to share their experiences with other groups of young people and encourage them to embrace farming as a business and improve their quality of life while contributing meaningfully to sustainable development.
Dr Emmanuel Sangodele is the Nigeria Project Coordinator of the N2Africa program–a large-scale, science research project focused on putting nitrogen fixation to work for smallholder farmers growing legume crops in Africa. He praised IITA for its concerted efforts in ensuring that youth unemployment is erased in Africa, and said, “The youth initiative and training is extremely insightful and is coming at a time when young people in Borno need financial and occupational stability. N2Africa is strongly committed to collaborate with IYA in launching agribusiness-based solutions to eradicate youth unemployment in Borno.”
Experts in agriculture acted as resource persons for the training. These included Dr Alpha Kamara, Head of the IITA Kano Station, Alhaji Sani Aliu Meedugu, Permanent Secretary/Project Manager, ADP Borno, and Prof Alphonse Emechebe, IITA Plant Pathologist and Independent Plant Management Specialist.
The training was organized in collaboration with N2Africa-to-Borno project under the auspices of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.