Young Africa Works-IITA commences multilocation training for 40,000 youth

12 February 2021

The Young Africa Works-IITA project commenced the first cohort of its training program in Lagos, Kaduna, and Kano states in Nigeria. This capacity-building activity began on 1 February and focuses on training 40,000 young Nigerian women and men between 18 and 35 years to become self-employed or gain employment in agri-food systems.

The training is running concurrently in the three states for six weeks and participants will gain practical and theoretical knowledge by engaging with reputable agribusiness firms and mentors who will expose them to the reality of operating a successful agribusiness enterprise. Agricultural value chains will include maize, soybean, rice, horticulture, sweet potato, groundnut, aquaculture, and poultry.

Young Africa Works-IITA commences multilocation training for 40,000 youth

“Capacity building is a crucial step in creating the next generation of agripreneurs,” said Project Training Coordinator Evelyn Ohanwusi. “The mix of theoretical and practical exercises will position trainees to secure fulfilling jobs or establish their enterprises. E-learning is a focus for the project to achieve a wider reach and adapt to the global pandemic. It will also promote digitization in the agricultural sector,” she added

“Because of limited funds and training, young people are hampered by a lack of opportunities and access to the skills and resources they need,” said Chidinma Lawanson, Nigeria Country Head, Mastercard Foundation. “Through the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works in Nigeria partnership with IITA, we are empowering Nigerian youth and women while boosting agriculture across the country.”

Young Africa Works-IITA commences multilocation training for 40,000 youth

The project, which was launched across the three states, had representatives of government parastatals and the private sector.

In Lagos, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, commended IITA and Mastercard Foundation for introducing this innovative approach to arouse the interest of youth and teenagers in agriculture.

“I am particularly delighted to be in your midst for the launching of this program as the Lagos State government is particularly interested in this program as it is in tune with the goal of recruiting more youth, teenagers, and women into the agricultural space to replace the aging farmers as well as to increase food production, create employment opportunities, alleviate poverty and boost income generation in the state,” she said.

In Kano, the Deputy Governor of the State, Dr Nasiru Gawuna, who was represented by Hafiz Mohammed, Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, said the program was introduced when the State needed agricultural transformation through youth engagement. He stressed that Kano State is one of the highest producers of food commodities in Nigeria but lacks technology and innovation, which could only be driven by young people.

Young Africa Works-IITA commences multilocation training for 40,000 youth

“With the population of young people in the State, I am hopeful that the program will record a lot of impact. Most of them have basic knowledge about agriculture, but they need to be introduced to technologies and agribusiness skills, and this is a platform to impart such knowledge,” he said.

During an interactive session in Kaduna, the Executive Director of National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), Prof. Emmanuel Ikani, advised the beneficiaries to utilize the skills and knowledge from the program to develop the agricultural sector in the state.

After completing the six-week training, participants can take advantage of the project’s partnerships with selected and reputable financial institutions to secure credit facilities to start independent agribusiness enterprises.