The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) will train about 40,000 young Nigerian men and women within five years under the Young Africa Works IITA-project which began last May.
The project is designed to advance agribusiness opportunities with a special focus on skills development.
IITA’s digital extension and advisory specialist, Godwin Aster, in a statement on Tuesday, said the beneficiaries will be trained to tap entrepreneurship opportunities or secure work in the agri-food value chain.
He said IITA partnered with Mastercard Foundation to start the Young Africa Works-IITA Project, which he further described as an innovative approach to agribusiness training and start-up for Nigeria’s young people.
He said the project was developed in consultation with young people, policymakers, educators, and entrepreneurs as part of the Mastercard Foundation’s strategy to enable 30 million young people in Africa to access dignified and fulfilling work over the next 10 years.
“In Nigeria, Young Africa Works aims to see 10 million young people, most of them women, in dignified work opportunities by 2030,” the statement reads.
Meanwhile, Mastercard Foundation country Head for Nigeria, Chidinma Lawanson, said agriculture is among the most viable potential sources of employment for young people in Africa.
“We are excited to see how our Young Africa Works partnership with IITA will make the agricultural sector more attractive to young people, particularly women by providing skills training in the agriculture value chain for employment and entrepreneurship opportunities,” Ms Lawanson was quoted to have said.
To kick off project activities, IITA said it has called for applications from Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 35 years living in Lagos, Kano, and Kaduna.
The agric institute said the training will focus on agribusiness development that will provide young people an opportunity to grow their businesses through coaching and mentoring and learn modern farming and value addition techniques.
The statement noted that young people will also be exposed to agriculture product marketing skills, market linkages, and career orientation through job placements and internship opportunities.
The statement said these skills can bridge the gap in establishing viable agribusiness enterprises between youth and potential employers in the agricultural sector.
Mr Atser said women would get 70 per cent of the slots. He said the project seeks to create productive partnerships between young men and women and apply a gender-based approach to addressing challenges faced by young women in the agribusiness sector in Nigeria.
“Participants will acquire business and soft skills that will facilitate their integration into the professional field and this year’s training will cover the following value chains: maize, soybean, rice, horticulture, orange-fleshed sweet potato, groundnut, aquaculture, and poultry,” the statement said.
The Executive Manager, Young Africa Works-IITA project, Aline Mugisho, said there will be no development in Nigeria without the youth, and that the best way to end poverty is to create opportunities, which is what this project is all about.
“By creating career opportunities and youth-led enterprises, we are planting a seed of change for the next generation. It is in this line that the Young Africa Works-IITA project was developed by the youth, for the youth, and with the youth,” she said.
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