27th November, 2020
By Chidinma Ewunonu-Aluko
No fewer than 40,000 youths in Nigeria will benefit from the Young Africa Works –International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) project, established to secure a job in agri-food value chains.
The Young Africa Works-IITA Project Communication Officer, Miss Adetola Adenmosun, stated this in a statement issued on Friday in Ibadan.
Adenmosun, had in May, said that the IITA had partnered with the Mastercard Foundation to start the project, an innovative approach to agribusiness training and start-up for Nigeria’s young people.
She said the project was developed in consultation with young people, policymakers, educators and entrepreneurs, as part of the Foundation’s strategy to enable 30 million young people in Africa access dignifying and fulfilling work over the next 10 years.
According to her, Young Africa Works aims to see 10 million young people, especially women, in dignifying work opportunities in Nigeria by 2030.
“In line with this strategy, the project is designed to advance agribusiness opportunities to more than 40,000 Nigerian young women and men.
“It is with a special focus on skills development, decent employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to secure work in agri-food value chains for the next five years,’’ she said.
To kick off the project, Adenmosun said that IITA had launched a call for application to young women and men of between18 and 35 years living in Lagos, Kano, and Kaduna states.
She said that the training would focus on agribusiness development that would provide young people with the opportunity to grow their businesses through coaching and mentoring, and learn modern farming and value addition techniques.
“Young people will also be exposed to agriculture product marketing skills, market linkages and career orientation through job placements and internship opportunities.
“The skills can bridge the gap in establishing viable agribusiness enterprises between youths and potential employers in the agricultural sector.
“It gives young women, who are 70 per cent of the participants, special opportunity to enhance their participation and adopt entrepreneurship.
“In highlighting women’s participation, the training and the project seek to create productive partnerships between young men and women, and apply a gender-based approach to addressing some of the challenges faced in the agribusiness sector in Nigeria,” she said.
The Country Head for Nigeria, Mastercard Foundation, Chidinma Lawanson, described agriculture as one of the most viable potential sources of employment for young people in Africa.
Lawanson said that partnership with IITA would make the agricultural sector more attractive to young people, particularly women, by providing skills training in the agriculture value chain for employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Also, Mr Aline Mugisho, Executive Manager, Young Africa Works-IITA, said that participants would acquire a business and soft skills that would facilitate their integration into the professional field.
Mugisho noted that this year’s training would cover the following value chains: maize, soybean, rice, horticulture, orange-fleshed sweet potato, groundnut, aquaculture and poultry.
“There can be no development in Nigeria without youth. The best way to end poverty is to create opportunities and this is what this project is all about.
“By creating career opportunities and youth-led enterprises, we are planting a seed of change for the next generation.
“It is based on this that the Young Africa Works-IITA project was developed by the youth, for the youth and with the youth.
“To apply, interested applicants should visit our website,” he said, adding that applications would be received from Nov. 12 to Dec. 12.