Youth empowerment

HOW TO ACCESS FINANCE FOR YOUR AGRIBUSINESS DURING RECESSION

 

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In line with the current economic situation, Agrihub together with other partners has decided to host a virtual workshop to engage youths in Agriculture on how to Access Finance for your Agribusiness.

As part of its capacity building activities, Agrihub Nigeria invites you to participate in the themed workshop – Financing Agriculture for Economic Development.

This Workshop will be in Partnership with Agropreneur Nigeria and it will be a series of 4 events held over the coming week. The initial 3 events will be online while the 4th a physical meeting.

For now, the event will mostly require you to view pre-recorded videos with some of the speakers and engage with them via tweets for questions and comments. Speakers will discuss on different topics on Financing Agriculture for Economic Development.

This will require your engagements via your twitter handle, please use the hashtag #Agrifunding and tag @agrihubng in all questions, and comments on twitter.

Objective of the Workshop

The objective of the workshop is to ensure that participants have the understanding of the various forms of financing that are available to them in the agricultural sector while at the same time change the mindset that only commercial banks or government can finance agribusinesses.

Schedule of Events

  • On Saturday, November 19th, 2016, Begin of Online Workshop on funding Agriculture for Economic Development with the Upload and streaming of series of pre-recorded interviews around the theme from 9am via the AgriHub Youtube Page.

 

  • On Tuesday, November 22nd, We will have a tweet chat with Dr. Mayowa Oguntoyinbo CEO Freshly Yours Ltd, on Record Keeping for Agribusinesses from 5 – 7 pm. Please use the hashtag #agrifunding and tag @agrihubng in all questions, and comments on twitter.basicbookkeepingagrihubnov22seminar-tweetchat
  • On Thursday, November 24th, We will have a tweet chat on Insurance in Agriculture based on information received during an interview with a representative of the Nigerian Agriculture Insurance Co-operation, NAIC from 5 – 7 pm. Please use the hashtag #agrifunding and tag @agrihubng in all questions, and comments on twitter.

  • There will be a number of viewing centers across Lagos to discuss the said topics and spark the conversations around financing agriculture. YPARD and Agroprenuer Naija, will moderate Physical Group Discussions at 2 locations, 9 Adepegba Street, Ilupeju and The Jetty, Wole Olateju, Crescent off Admiralty way Lekki Phase 1 , Lekki, Lagos from 12 – 2 pm on Saturday, November 26th, 2016 where opportunities and next steps forward will be discussed.

NB: Speakers would be available on Twitter at various times of the day to answer possible questions from viewers. Questions and comments can be asked on twitter on Sunday 20th November by 5 – 7 pm

See Agrihub’s Youtube Page for All Speaker Videos http://bit.ly/2g5JSNw

PS: Twitter comments are be welcomed and will be discussed during these conversations.

Please register here to gain access to the videos and ATTEND the physical event at http://agrihub.org/REGISTRATION/

Speaker Videos

Speaker 1 Welcome and Introduction by Agrihub

Introduction to Workshop by Ronke Aderinoye, Founder and CEO Agrihub Nigeria discussing on why talk about Finance in Agriculture now. A description of Agrihub Nigeria and an overview of the agenda. http://bit.ly/2gtCI7o

Speaker 2 Finance in Agriculture; Types of Finance available.

Financing Options for Agribusiness by Ada Osakwe, CEO Agrolay Ventures, Nuli Juice and Foods. Discusses what Finance options are available to Agric businesses http://bit.ly/2g5DBRY

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Speaker 3: Funding Opportunities Available and the Challenges (Panel Discussion) –What records are necessary, what amount can be accessed?

Micro Finance Bank: Micro Finance in Agriculture by Gbemi Awoniyi-Folayan http://bit.ly/2fF9bWb

Speaker 5 Agrihub’s “Financing Agriculture for Economic Development”

Real Life Experiences of an Agropreneur in Nigeria, by Seun Abolaji, Founder, Wilson’s Juice Co. http://bit.ly/2fF8tZ3

Concluding Remark, Agrihub’s “Financing Agriculture for Economic Development”

Conclusion by Ronke Aderinoye http://bit.ly/2fF9IaC

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A TEEP ALUMNI TALKS ABOUT HIS CASSAVA BUSINESS, ADVICES UPCOMING YOUNG AGROPRENEURS

Photo Credit: Kolawole Omotola 

This month we interview Kolawole Omotola a young entrepreneur from Ekiti state. He is also a Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) Alumni, today he has a cassava processing facility where he packages “garri” for consumers within and outside his community. Omotola is one youth who have succeeded with support through business skills training, mentoring, access to seed capital funding and together with passion for entrepreneurship.

We introduce him as our Young Agropreneur of the Month, here he tells us his story, how he started and established his company “Oyinkola Enterprises” and how he overcame market acceptance of his product which was his major challenge. He discusses constraints to cassava business among others. Omotola ends with his future plans, recommendations for government and advice to upcoming youth intending to go into Agribusiness.

Introduction

I am Kolawole Omotola, a native of Ekiti state, a graduate of Computer Science from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State and the CEO of Oyinkola Enterprises.

I am a member of a big family with many siblings. I had no choice but to strive and cater for myself. This thought me to stay focused and be determined to never give up and be a great achiever. Growing up was indeed by God’s grace. I have great passion for agricultural activities and I have a goal to produce food for my community.

Starting up

I am into cassava crop processing, I am a garri maker! The major challenge that was faced while starting up was market acceptance. But with God it came as a success, our product was evenly embraced by all in the community.

 

Photo credit: Kolawole Omotola

Benefits

  • Agribusiness is my lifestyle; I personally made the choice of the business of agriculture. I am happy doing it because I am achieving my dreams. It gives me joy when customers give happy comments on the product, like your garri was wonderful; we so much enjoy taking it.
  • Oyinkola Enterprises have employees that help in the cassava crop processing. We have 4 permanent staffs and about 8 casual staffs with different roles. We have been able to create little jobs for the society as the women who come to peel our crops go home with little cash at the end of the day to help with their various family; we also train our workers to gain some skills, this we believe has its multiplier effect on our productivity as an enterprise.

Constraints

  • The hardest part of the business is the peeling of crops before grating and what makes this difficult is lack of peeling machine. We believe, as soon as the enterprise is able to get this machine, our work will be easier and faster.
  • Another issue we are experiencing is on some of our causal staffs who have little or no formal education; we are faced with the problem of starting with them from the crash.
  • Government’s inconsistent policy is also a major constraint that needs a positive change and adjustment. This will encourage more youths to be involved in the business of agriculture.

Future Plans

  • Even though we still purchase cassava crops from farmers to process, we are planning on cultivating our own cassava and increasing the quantity of our processed product.
  • We intend to venture into the business of industrial starch and cassava flour soonest.
  • We are planning to have a branch in Ekiti state before the end of the year and hope to have branches of Oyinkola Enterprises in different states of Nigeria as time goes on.

Recommendation to the Government

  • Kindly empower more extension workers to assist farmers on their farm to get it right on modern farming techniques and methods.
  • Help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by easing the process of getting the NAFDAC number for their products.
  • Ensure adequate access to agricultural machinery, like the tractor, plough etc.

Advice for Upcoming Entrepreneurs and Youths 

  • My advice is that you should be ready to face your life and prepare to start small because where you start from will not be where you will be in few months after starting. Start now and face the challenges ahead as life itself is a challenge. So this is a challenge worth facing to better your life, family and community. You will be proud you did!

Many youths always complain of fund as the major problem of not starting their dream business. But I will say it is not the first thing to consider if one wants to start. Firstly, seek for more knowledge on that particular business and before you are done with that, there will be provision of finance.

Oyinkola Enterprises on Facebook, Website

 

Making the most of opportunity – Tolulope’s brave choice in building her own cassava processing/packaging business venture

 

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Photo credit: Tolulope Aina

Aina Tolulope an undergraduate of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Ibadan and a native of Ogun State is the CEO of Tolulope foods processing and packaging company- which is currently into the processing and packaging of Gari and has a brand known as MyGari aside packaging food items as souvenier for events. She developed the interest in cassava cultivation and processing during the one-year practical year training program while she was in 400 Level.

Despite several challenges, Tolulope chose not to back down!  She believes agriculture has revolutionized in this jet age and with the current state of the country, Nigerians especially the youths, should wake up and be that change they want to see instead of waiting for miracles to happen from the government.

INTRODUCTION

My name is Aina Tolulope, a student of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Ibadan.  I am the CEO of Tolulope foods processing and packaging company, a brand that is currently into the processing and packaging of Gari called MyGari. I was born on the 12th of September!

When and where was the start of your journey into agribusiness?

My interest in agribusiness started during the practical year training program at the University of Ibadan for 400 level students. During this period, I developed the interest in cassava cultivation and processing and I decided from that time to pursue cassava cultivation, processing and packaging as a business venture.

Tolulope's Packaged Garri as souvenir for an event

What is your view about agribusiness?

Agribusiness to me differs from the conventional mentality people especially the youths have about the business enterprise. Agriculture generally has upgraded from the use of crude implements to mechanized farming, to agro- processing which helps to improve the value of agricultural products in the local and foreign market. The packaging also helps in adding value to the product. Oh well in this jet age, so packaging is key.

What part of your agribusiness do you find most satisfying and what part do you find most challenging?

The most challenging part has to do with expansion and capital needed for the business- since agribusiness is generally capital and labour intensive. Against all odds what’s satisfying about agribusiness is identifying problems that spring up from time to time, putting in place combating strategies and actually seeing positive results in respect to that.

What challenges did you face while starting up and what decisions and choices did you make to manage the challenges?

Hmmm… That’s a whole lot you know? but let me share a few of them. Initially, financing the business was the first issue, how to convince was next – how do I convince the identified sources to invest in the business? There was a dramatic incident which could have totally discouraged me from starting but I thank God I didn’t let that pose as a limitation, it was when a supposed expertise in the field who I expected to be a mentor was just after how much he could swindle out of me. Well, lessons were learnt and business had to go on. That’s what challenges are called right? (Laughs)….

Photo credit: Tolulope Aina

I chose not to back down, though challenges kept on popping up. The more they kept popping up, the more combating strategies were put in place. But then the beauty of it all is after much effort in trying to make things work out, you begin to yield positive results and those that looked down on you begin to appreciate you, people begin to acknowledge you as a source of motivation to others, a problem solver and a motivation to both young and old, these to me are priceless.

It’s not just about starting a business and keeping it moving, it is how much lives one can touch on the way up the ladder. Above all, focus, perseverance, hard work (with smart work as an active ingredient) and most importantly God’s grace is what has kept this business going.

How have the choices and decisions you made helped in the success of your business?

Choices like how to process the best quality of ‘Gari’, how to make it available for an affordable price, and what packaging material should be used, the form of packaging, size of the packaging, the target market among others. The decisions made were made based on the most cost-effective options that would benefit both the target market and the business. As an Agricultural Economist, I am concerned about minimizing cost, providing the product at an affordable price and still make the desired profit.

Some of Tolulope's packaged food products as souveniers

Do you attend seminars, mentoring programs for improvement in your business? How do you keep yourself informed for improvement in your business and what steps have you taken to improve?

Lol, why not? If I don’t, how then will I keep myself motivated and develop in the field? One of the essential qualities of an agripreneur is good and upgraded knowledge of the business. To me, knowledge is key!

What’s your view on youth involvement in agro-processing, and packaging?

It’s key, in short, this is the future of this nation’s agribusiness. The bulk of food being consumed in Nigeria come from rural sources, others are from import sources with very little from private owned commercial farms. These rural farmers employ the use of crude implements. This is the 21st century, technology has gone way beyond that, where are the youth, the leaders of tomorrow and what are they doing about this? Even rural youth are coming to the city to ride okada.

Tolulope's Packaged Garri Product

The period of glut is accompanied with abundance of some resources and when these products are off season the nation experiences severe scarcity. What is wrong with our storage facilities? What is happening to mechanized farming? Asides from what we hear in the news about government empowering the youths in Agriculture? How many deserving youths have been empowered? How can a nation like ours that is blessed with a favorable climate for the cultivation of various agricultural produce still be unable to boast of being food secure? What is the problem? Is the government doing less or are the citizens ignoring agriculture? The reality is this, the supply of the labour force is higher that the demand for it. Year in year out we have thousands of youths ploughed into this sphere called labour force yet everyone prays and hopes for a good job, please where are these jobs? Youths let’s sit back and think about how we can help reduce these problems rather than add to it. How can we help ourselves to help others?

I apologize if I have somewhat digressed but then, we have to tell ourselves this truth, with the current state of our economy right now, everyone has to wake up and think of how to help revive our nation, the government cannot do it all, we cannot die of starvation by waiting for miracle to happen from the government, let us wake up and be that change we want to see.

What ideas would you encourage the government to implement to ensure youths involvement in Agribusiness?

Government, please help the youths, create avenues for seminars and training for the youths in Agriculture, there is need to reorientate the youths that there is more to agriculture than the use of hoe and cutlass, in short aside from all these ambiguous empowerment programs with little resultant effect on the economy when evaluated,  Identify interested youth, train them, divide them into teams of professionals in various aspects of agriculture, empower them by giving them substantial amount of hectares to cultivate, provide them with required resources, prompt mentoring and put up a structure that can accommodate sales of their product. When the government has agricultural products to sell, sporadic fluctuation of food items by suppliers will reduce. It is a broader concept which I cannot elaborately explain in this interview, but then trust me- there is a lot to be done especially on the part of the government.

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What is your advice to agropreneurs that have the desire go into agribusiness agro-processing and packaging?

In business, if one looks at all the likely problems to be encountered, no one would really start anything. Like I actually tell people from experience, there will never be a perfect time to take a bold step towards achieving one’s goals. You have to take the time (which is now) and make it perfect. Against all odds, you just have to take the  risk, calculated risk and not just risks without a well thought out plans, do not let anyone or anything weigh you down or deter you from achieving your dreams.

Identify persons that keep you motivated and strive towards being a source of motivation to others, be ye never particular about the profit to be made from a business but be more concerned about how many lives you can impact, a problem solver you can be not just for yourself but for the benefit of the entire human race. But then, you can never be too certain about some outcome, therefore, you should never rule out the God factor, do your best and let him crown your effort.

OPINION: The increase of labor-saving machinery and the present state of Nigerian Agriculture, a challenge or not a challenge?

Agricultural machine working in the late evening. Photo credit: Flickr, Ookpik Prod.

Agricultural machine working in the late evening. Photo credit: Flickr, Ookpik Prod.

The introduction of the increase in “labor-saving machinery” for farm practices is indeed a requirement for improved output and productivity; however its implication on agricultural development with the present state of the country should not be overlooked.

According to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Nigeria has over 84 million hectares of arable land of which only 40% of the 84 million hectares is cultivated. Cultivation of the 50.4 million hectares of land, – which is capable of being plowed to grow crops and has huge potential to be productive – is one of the diverse ways in which increased output can be achieved other than focusing squarely on increasing labor-saving machinery in the country.

Increase in mechanized agriculture will definitely replace human labor – in a case of a country with abundant labor the importation of labor saving machinery will not only affect the physical environment negatively but it will create more rural unemployment and may not really cause a reduction in per-unit cost of food production.

Even though improved mechanization will help increase farm output, there are over 78.4 million people in Nigeria  that are within the working age population, these persons  are willing, able and actively looking for work. The striking effect on the quantity of output per worker if “labor-saving machinery” increases cannot be overstated, for example, one man operating a harvester will accomplish in a single hour what will be required by hundreds of men using crude implements. But in a situation, of few land ownership, scarce capital, and high rate of unemployment the importation of labor-saving machinery could increase the problem of poverty and unemployment, and be anti-developmental.

Do we need to ask ourselves how many hectares of land have the potential to be productive? How many have been cultivated on? How sufficient is the capital of the present day Nigerian farmer? How many hectares of land are owned by individual Nigerian farmers? Where does most agricultural activity occur in Nigeria? What is the state of the rural area? It is a known fact that good roads, adequate storage facilities, incentives to farmers, improved farm income and access to credit will attract more youths to agriculture than the increase in labor-saving machinery.

We should focus and fix our most severe agricultural constraints to attract both young and old to agriculture and exploit other opportunities for significant and sustainable land expansion before facing the challenges of labor-saving machinery.

This blog post was written by Idowu T. Owoeye

email; idowuowoeye6@gmail.com

REVIVIFYING THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR OF NIGERIA

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Agriculture was a major part of our lives; we were passionate and active about farming. We were once a major exporter of cash crops; in fact we were number one globally in palm oil exports, and exported 47% of all groundnuts. In the 1960s, we produced 18% of cocoa global production which was second in the world. But since the advent of oil glut in the 1980s, a supposed blessing has turned out to be a pain in the neck. The great nation that produces 65% of tomatoes in West Africa is now the largest importer of tomato paste. Shamefully, we are now a   ”major importer”, importing not only rice, sugar, fish, raw cane sugar, durum wheat, frozen foods, crude palm oil, tooth pick etc. but also other household items which include; furniture, children’s toys, wrist watches, artificial hairs, kerosene stoves, cutleries, phones and many other things.

The Nigerian government over the years have failed to properly manage the revenue generated from the export of crude oil, due to corruption and various cases of financial misappropriation that has eaten deep into the system of governance. Channelling of oil revenue into productive sectors such as the agricultural sector was anticipated but didn’t manifest. As a matter of fact, the neglect of agricultural sector cannot be overemphasized; from time to time, different leaders have come up with various assumed revival agricultural programmes, but the level of achievements recorded has been minimal and the country is yet to take her place in the international market a major exporter of agricultural produce.

During the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan; transformation was witnessed in the agricultural sector, when Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, a renowned agricultural economist was appointed Federal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. The minister’s agenda successfully encouraged the participation of foreign investors, and boosted increased rice, cassava and yam production. Also, farm inputs such as fertilizers got to farmers directly and reduced the presence of middlemen significantly. More so, there was a significant reduction in food importation bill. The tremendous success recorded during Dr. Adesina’s tenure as Minister of Agriculture is attributed to the fact that an agricultural expert steered the wheels of the sector. One of the reasons why the agricultural sector has been less-productive is because those that held crucial positions in the sector in the past were in no way inclined with agriculture. There is a need to shun political favouritism and put the right people at the right place of governance in Nigeria. Ministries, agencies and other governing bodies should be directed by people that have the required knowledge and ability to turn things around for good. It should be known that a redirected focus on agricultural production and processing by inclined expertise and diligent management is a great platform for wealth creation and poverty eradication in the country.

Even though the resource of Nigeria is undeniable, proactive decisions have to be taken for the country to take her rightful place in Africa; and the world.  The country has to DIVERSIFY. Recently, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State said that his administration will focus on agriculture because of ”its multiplier effects”. He also said emphatically that agriculture will create employment and provide food security for the state. He stated that, agriculture will allow a safe society; because if the people are busy and well fed they will not involve themselves in violence.

Revivifying the agricultural sector goes beyond setting up various committees to look into issues, it goes beyond organising seminars and conferences where analysis of problems are done.  The truth is we already know our problems, what we need is the idea that will bring solutions, practical solutions, and the passion to tackle these problems and initiate the positive solutions. It’s a tough job, but it is not impossible.

Here are few tips I believe will greatly revolutionize the agricultural sector. I strongly believe a revival in the agricultural sector will make Nigeria a force to reckon with.

  • RE-BRANDING AGRICULTURE: The first beautiful step that must be taken is to ”rebrand” agriculture entirely. When we talk about rebranding, it’s all about changing the whole picture, changing how it is being portrayed. This will help to attract everybody in the country, especially youths. Agriculture should no longer be viewed as a ”dirty job”. Until we rebrand agriculture, the teeming youths may never embrace it, until our government show signs of seriousness to rebrand the sector, the populace may not take agriculture with great importance.
    This is a call to the government, major stakeholders as well as private investors to rebrand this major sector of the economy and make it attractive and lucrative. Agriculture is green and beautiful.
    Social media platforms are great tools that should be used for extensive campaigns to capture the hearts of the populace. Once agriculture is well portrayed, it will get the necessary attention.
  • ENCOURAGING CAREERS IN AGRICULTURE: A special call should be made to parents and guardians to stop discouraging young ones that earnestly want to pursue various careers in agriculture. It’s discouraging telling people you are studying agriculture and they reply with, ”its pure waste of time and energy”.  The best brains are needed to revive this sector; there are various agricultural courses that young ones should be encouraged to study.
    If agricultural students no longer have difficulty in obtaining scholarships just like their colleagues in the medical and engineering field there will be increased relevance of agriculture. One of the strategic ways of encouraging careers in agriculture is to award scholarships to agricultural students. This is a wakeup call for the government and several agro-based companies to give out scholarships and academic research grants to scholars in the agricultural field, it will be a morale booster.
  • WELL-MANAGED FUNDING AND EASY ACCESS TO FARM INPUTS: The agricultural sector lacks proper funding and an effective management system.  The government and private investors should join forces to finance agricultural activities, so as to create wealth and alleviate poverty through public-private partnership.  Access to mechanised farm tools and farm inputs should be made easy. The administration of Dr. Adesina saw to the elimination of middlemen in the distribution of fertilizers to farmers. It goes beyond allocating big chunks of money to the sector. Allocated funds should be well accounted for and used for intended purposes. Farmers should have access to incentives and loans with ease.
    Corruption and wasteful spending should be eliminated.
  • EXTENSION SERVICES: Maximizing profit in agriculture requires having the right information and having it at the right time.
    This is where agricultural extension and communication experts are needed, new innovations that will increase the knowledge of farmers should be adopted because agriculture is a big picture, and it requires everybody playing a significant role.

The next big step that should be taken in the agricultural sector of this great nation should focus on three core objectives:

  • Food and Nutrition Security
  • Employment Generation
  • Wealth Creation

According to an agricultural expert, Folu Mogaji, ”the next biggest goldmine in Nigeria is Agribusiness”, but is Nigeria well positioned to be currently taken advantage of? Whether at production stage, processing or at the marketing stage, the government and citizens must channel positive energies into agriculture. In revivifying this sector totally, the government should ensure economic co-operation among states, create readily available markets for exportation of agricultural products, provide basic amenities, and also provide good storage facilities.

The Nigerian flag looks so beautiful and significant.  The green depicts agriculture and the white depicts peace. I believe there is a great connection between agriculture and the peace of our beloved country.
Revivifying the Nigerian Agricultural Sector Will Unite Nigerians And Bring Peace To Our Nation.

Fatokun Olukayode Adewale, is a 300level Student Of The Federal University Of Technology, Akure.

Young entrepreneurs advocates for more private partnerships in agriculture

 

Adesola Yinka on the farm

Adesola Yinka on the farm

The initiator of the Entrepreneur Youth Cooperative Multipurpose Society, Ms. Adesola Yinka has called for  more private partnership in Agriculture especially in  provision of Incentives inform of Fertilizer, seed,
Pesticides and Irrigation system

In an Interview with Agropreneur Naija!, Adesola stated that the private partnerships will go a long way in boosting agriculture business and encourage young farmers. She said “Agriculture is a business and like every other business, it has to be nurtured to maturity, a viable business that requires lots of investment and dedication “

Adesola continued by saying that a lot of youths are interested in agriculture adding that there are numerous ways agriculture will be made easy for the youth saying that young people, most especially in Nigeria have no interest in agriculture because Nigeria is still very backward in infrastructural development. “Outside Nigeria, hardly will you find a region where hoe and cutlass is the major cultivation system. The world of agriculture has been completely mechanized leaving us behind.
No youth in his right mind will ever want to go through that system” She said

She said “To have access to mechanized agricultural tools in Nigeria, you will go through hell. Government policy on Land is nothing to write home about. You can only have access to land if you are well connected, yet these lands are wasting away. Government protocols and procedures about agricultural facilities are killing. No unemployed youth can afford it”

Adesola continued by saying that every state has one type youth empowerment scheme or the other and yet many youths are not benefiting from it. She said that youths can work with private investors and government to constitute themselves into groups usually called out growers or cluster farmers and manage the farm for them saying that the yields and returns can now be shared at a percentage. She said” This will provide a win-win situation, the youth are empowered and the investors make profit”

 

She however said that The future of Agriculture is bright adding that we can tackle the problem of corruption is will go a long way  saying that corruption is the debarring force for every sector of our economy including agriculture.”  Money allocated for agriculture is siphoned into someone’s account. Even the G E S fertilizer does not reach many farmers.

 

Furthermore, Adesola said “We have the land, We have water for irrigation, Our soil is fertile,
We can plant all season because our weather is favorable yet we import from countries that hardly have 3  to 6 months of good climate system. We import food from countries that have no sufficient land. They plant most of their crops in Green house System because of insufficient land and we still import from them, it is sad”

On the Entrepreneur Youth Cooperative Multipurpose Society, Adesola said that  the society started out as a Young Farmers Cooperative and Along the line some other youths that have little
or no interest in Agriculture or farming showed interest and it prompt the name to be changed to reflect multipurpose for all enterprising youth

 She said that The main Objective is to encourage youth to save towards a projects and get multiple money  saved as loan from the cooperative she added that the interest rate is a digit and the repayment is flexible.

She also said that the society do personal projects through cooperative effort and
Part of our upcoming project for the first quarter of this year is to set up a cassava chips processing factory near our source of raw material

She however mention some of the challenges they face which includes unemployment, private investors not believing that agriculture is a viable business, land, banks not giving loans for startups most especially for youth groups.

Photo Credit : Yinka Adesola

 

 

Empowering young farmers: IITA walk the talk

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IITA Young Agripreneurs at the processing unit

“I have started to realize the importance of youth in the future of a food-secure world… (and) no matter how many new seeds or crops we bring on the market, no matter how many new systems of irrigation, land and water use, cattle breeding systems, food storage improvements…, unless we have young people interested in… agriculture… it will all fail dixitPeter Casier, an online media communications facilitator with almost 17 years experience in development works (and a Grandpa to many ICT4D youth), in a “googlegroup” discussion.

Nowadays, it has become a fad for policymakers at country levels (especially in Africa) and international organizations to talk much about youth involvement in development issues and youth empowerment without involving the youth themselves in the conversation or without giving them a real voice. In fact, many times action plans are developed for the youth without their inputs or in cases where they are involved either in the planning or implementation of such ideas, they are given fringe roles; and in the end get little or no benefit from such plans.

So, it was a pleasant and welcomed deviation from the “norm” for me to learn about the IITA Young Agripreneurs Programme and to meet and talk with the young agripreneurs themselves, when the YPARD Nigeria team – a group of young professionals in agriculture to which I belong – visited them at their unit in the IITA headquarters on Thursday September 19, 2013.

The IITA Young Agripreneurs Programme was designed by IITA to train and engage willing young people in modern farming practices and agribusiness. The programme, which is still at the pilot stage, started with a group of young graduates – corp members – who have chosen to use their one year mandatory youth service to develop modern farming skills and hope to put to practice their newly acquired skill and become farmers and agripreneurs soon.

Talking to them, these young folks were really enthusiastic about farming and were eager to share their experiences and the knowledge/skill they have acquired in the last one year on the programme – from the production of new varieties of maize seed to the replication and mass production of cassava stem cuttings; this is despite the fact that many of them studied courses not related to agriculture and were probably having their first contact with farming.

By and large, in my quick assessment, the IITA Young Agripreneur Programme has succeeded in piquing the interest of these young people, who would have probably joined many other disillusioned youth waiting for white collar jobs in their various fields, to embrace agriculture as a productive means through which they can achieve their aspirations.

That way, the IITA has moved beyond the “normal” and repetitive rhetoric of getting youth involved in, and empowered for, agriculture and development purposes but is already walking the talk through this laudable programme. Other local and international organizations will do well to follow suit.

Photo: IITA