The need to focus on capacity building in order for youth to participate fully in agriculture is not just important – it is a fundamental necessity if today’s youth are to be fully engaged in the agriculture sector. Agribusiness for youth should be seen as a serious undertaking that will determine the futures of many young people in Africa. To achieve the full participation of youth in agriculture, capacity building must be emphasized and the time to focus on the business aspects of the sector is now. The time to teach young people to get their hands dirty and obtain the requisite skills to succeed in the competitive global economy is now.
Capacity building of youth is essential to ensure the success of Africa’s food security initiative. To do this, skills in agricultural and agribusiness development remain fundamental to increasing the productivity, profitability, and competitiveness in Africa’s economic and rural agricultural development.
IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) recognizes the fact that youth lack skills, knowledge, experience, right equipment or resources to achieve this and organizes technical and soft skills training for young people to thread a path in agribusiness. These trainings expose youth regardless of their educational background to the skillsets that will enhance their operations and productivity along the value chains.
Using various training manuals, modules and approaches developed for this purpose, quite a number of young underemployed and unemployed people have been trained in agribusiness, business management, leadership and entrepreneurial skills. The approach used by IYA is not limited to classroom training. It spans through incubation, mindset change, exploratory visits, continuous mentoring and technical backstopping.
Through this approach, many youths have been trained with a good number of them making use of the knowledge gained through the training. These trainings have birthed the establishment of independent agribusiness enterprises.