IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) has concluded the first phase of the training exercise under the N2Africa Borno Project with the training of 127 youths. The training was in 5 batches and began in September 2014 at the IITA station in Kano.
Starting with 20 young unemployed graduates in Borno State, IYA took up the challenge of carrying out a 3-week intensive classroom and on-field training for the selected youths on value chains in agriculture.
In the training curriculum for the N2Africa Borno project, IYA started with sensitization and mindset changing activities for the youth to change their perception about agriculture. Also, there were sessions on marketing, processing, leadership training, ICT in agribusiness, aquaculture, and production of crops such as cowpea, sorghum, maize, and soybean.
The N2Africa Borno project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was aimed at enabling the youths to increase their knowledge and skills in sustainable agronomic practices, and developing their entrepreneurial skills in agribusiness to promote self-dependence and inspire the replication of the IYA model in the north eastern part of the country. The training was targeted at the unemployed youth to build their capacity to embrace agriculture and agribusiness as an income generating option with emphasis on the value chain of nitrogen fixing crops.
As the youths were trained, starter packs which included start-up capitals, and equipment among others were disbursed to them for the commencement of their agribusiness enterprise. Many of them had shown interest in the production, marketing and value addition of leguminous crops. Some are into fabrication and livestock production.
With the conclusion of the last phase of the workshop, about 127 young men and women have been trained in the sustainable agronomic requirements for the production of cowpea, soybean, and groundnut. The beneficiaries have also been equipped with the necessary skills for a successful venture in the grain legume value chains, as well as having their entrepreneurship skills in agribusiness developed.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Olaniyi Ajibola who represented the Head of Capacity Building Unit of IYA advised the trainees to make efficient use of the training by establishing their independent agribusiness enterprise.
The Head of IITA station in Kano, Dr Alpha Kamara, in a keynote address, congratulated the youth and enjoined them to be good ambassadors of the project. He charged them to go to their community and be agent of change especially in agriculture.
Dr Nkeki Kamai, the coordinator of N2Africa Borno project said young men and women in Borno State through the intervention of the programme are beginning to embrace agribusiness as an income generating activity for a decent livelihood notwithstanding the socio-political bottlenecks being experienced in the state.