Kemi Adeosun, Nigeria’s finance minister has moved for collaboration between the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and government to rollout a national youth agric programme for the country.
Adeosun, said in Ibadan recently that the country will benefit by signing up for the African Development Bank funded Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment Youth Program (ENABLE Youth), which government is considering rolling out.
She said Nigeria’s signatory to the ENABLE youth program will make the oil-rich country the third African country coming behind Cameroon and Sudan to benefit from funds under the AfDB Feed Africa initiative.
The ENABLE youth program is modelled after the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Youth Agripreneur (IYA) program, which has seen a lot of success.
The program is expected to create business opportunities and decent employment for 1000 young women and men along priority agricultural value chains of various enterprises (aquaculture, crops farming, marketing, processing, etc.) per state, including Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, according to Nteranya Sanginga, the director general of IITA.
Adeosun said that she was inspired and impressed with the concept and the testimonials of the young agricultural entrepreneurs and called for the collaboration of the IITA in assessing the ENABLE Youth programme being considered by the government
“We came here – IITA – to assess a project (ENABLE Youth) being considered by the Federal Government. From what I have seen today, I am extremely impressed and inspired! We should work on how we can roll out this project nationally,” the Minister said during a visit to IITA in Ibadan recently.
Like several other African nations, Nigeria is caught in between rising youth employment and food insecurity. In 2012, Dr Sanginga initiated a youth in agriculture program to serve as a model for African nations to emulate and prosper.
Under the model, youths are trained – both in theory and practice – and mentored with a view to changing their mindsets towards agriculture. In the end, they key into startups in the agricultural value chains.
Dr Sanginga said the IYA model was a template that would help African countries tackle the challenge of unemployment on the continent and create wealth.
“We have tested it in IITA, Nigeria, and several countries and it is working,” he said.