IITA trains 3,111 youths on different agricultural value chains

4 years ago | 66

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The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, through its Agri-prenuer programme trained no fewer than 3,111 youths in various agricultural and agri-business value chains in four years. Miss Molayo Owoeye, the IITA Youth Agri-prenuer Programme Capacity Building Expert, disclosed this on Friday during a training for media and youths on research evidence dissemination, organised by IITA in Ibadan. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Agri-prenuer programme was established in 2012 to re-orient the mindset of youths toward productive engagement in agriculture, through expanded opportunities in agri-business. According to Owoeye, the youths were trained on various value chains ranging from cultivating and rearing of poultry, cassava, catfish and Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP). “We also go to rural sectors to empower farmers; most farmers lack knowledge of good agronomic practices, so we enlighten them. “Our target in another five years is to train more 70,000 youths in various other value chains. “Some of the youths trained are now self-employed, most of them are in the North; after the training, we still follow them up and assist them to sustain their businesses,’’ she said. Owoeye urged policy makers to always allow youths to be present during policy making, so as to enable them express their views on better government. “We need the government to stop importation of foods that can be produced in Nigeria, to create more markets for the farmers. “We want our voices to be heard during policy making, when we youths have an enabling environment, we will make more impact and progress,” she said. Also speaking, Mr Sylvester Jotta, a Research Fellow at IITA, implored Africans to incorporate the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT), especially mobile phones, in their farming business. Jotta said using mobile phones would give the farmers an advantage in the farming business, as they would have more access to basic information than those who did not use ICT. “Most farmers testify that through the mobile phone, they are able to contact extension agents and interact with them on basic issues that will help them in their farming. “They also have access to get some inputs to improve their farming, research has shown that ICT has a vital role to play in agricultural advancement in Africa, so we should tap into it. “Women should be exposed to ICT because most farmers in Africa are women; so, for agriculture to thrive on the continent, women must be enlightened on the importance of using ICT to make good business through agriculture,” he said. (NAN)

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