Story by Joseph Kobla Wemakor
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture Youth Agripreneurs (IITA Youth Agripreneurs have concluded plans to train and empower youths from Borno state?north-eastern Nigeria.
The proposed three-week training, which comes up in early September, will equip youths in that state with knowledge on modern agricultural practices and entrepreneurial skills that will make them self-dependent and be able to create wealth.
?What we intend to do is actually use agriculture to solve some of the social problems in most societies of Africa including poverty and hunger,? Dr Nteranya Sanginga, IITA Director General said today.
The proposed training will draw from the experiences and successes of the IITA Youth Agripreneur model, and will be conducted by youths that have been trained and empowered by IITA.
?Over the last few years we have seen that it is more effective for youths to train youths. And we want to use this approach to bring more youths to agriculture, take them off the job market, and reinstate stability in our communities,? Dr Sanginga added.
Established over two years ago, the IITA Youth Agripreneur program uses teaching, mentoring and practical demonstrations of modern agriculture to attract youths into agribusiness. The primary goals are to attract to the sector the necessary young and vibrant human capital by making farming profitable, thereby creating wealth and the most needed jobs in the society.
?By engaging Borno youths in agriculture, we envision to solve the problem of youth restiveness in that state, and make the state one of the major food exporters in the country,? Dr Alfred Dixon, Project Leader for the IITA-managed project on Sustainable Weed Management Technologies for Cassava Systems in Nigeria said.
Under the training which has strong financial support from ?N2Africa?to-Borno? project, 16 youths from Borno state will be trained for three weeks for a start. The training will involve class room lectures, on-field practical training, and interactive sessions and group exercises.
Ms Evelyn Ohanwusi, IITA Youth Agripreneur said, ?We are happy to meet our peers in Borno state. We will be sharing knowledge with them so that they can better their lives.?
Located in the northeastern part of Nigeria, Borno is perhaps the largest state in Nigeria in terms of land mass with about 69,435 square Km. The state is agrarian and it occupies the greatest part of the Chad Basin and shares borders with the Republics of Niger to the North, Chad to the North-East and Cameroun to the East. In recent times, the state has recorded series of insurgency triggered partly by growing unemployment and poverty.
Researchers are hopeful that empowering the youths through agriculture will compliment Nigeria?s government efforts, create wealth in communities, and will lead to greater stability of the state and region.