The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is one of the world’s leading research partners in finding solutions for hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. Its’ mission is to assure food security for the world’s poorest people, including Africa’s young men and women, and provide them with viable strategies that create long-term results for economic development. It is an international non-profit organization founded in 1967 and governed by a Board of Trustees.
IITA through its youth in Agribusiness unit established in 2012, has successfully launched a network of Agribusiness Incubations where youth develop skill sets through experiential learning on several different pilot enterprises based upon modernizing agricultural and agro-processing technologies. The institute brings along hands-on expertise including successes and lessons learned over the past 6 years to the youth employment in agribusiness and sustainable agriculture (YEASA) project. The model IITA uses is robust and addresses needs that lead to youth-led agribusiness start-ups and growth as well as the skill sets required to securing decent employment within emergent rural economies. It is based upon modern farming technologies and enterprises; skill set development through experiential learning; and strategic mentorship.
The Youth Employment in Agribusiness and Sustainable Agriculture (YEASA) project aims to build the technical, entrepreneurial, and soft skills of young adults (18-35 years), as a means of improving their productive capacity and increasing their benefits from existing agri-food systems. It is sponsored by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and is to be implemented by three Institutions; Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), the grant recipient, and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and AfricaRice as sub-recipients. The project is set to empower one thousand of the young adults resident in rural areas of the Republic of Benin (Parakou and Cotonou) and Nigeria (Oyo and Ekiti) for a period of three years. The target beneficiaries will have the opportunity to choose from a range of agricultural commodities such as moringa, soybean/cowpea, maize, plantain, mango, cassava, rice, and Aquaculture, also feed-mill and agric-machinery fabrication. IITA being a sub-recipient is expected to empower 200 young rural adults in Nigeria and the Republic of Benin along the value chains of maize, cassava, plantain, cowpea & soybean, and machine fabrication.