As part of efforts to fight hunger, poverty and unemployment among youths in Nigeria, especially in Southwest, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has picked the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta as incubation centre for youth empowerment in six Southwest states.
The choice of FUNAAB for the sustainable agric-based youths empowerment centred on Agriculture and Agribusiness, which is being financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB), was disclosed in Abeokuta by the team of experts from IITA who paid a working visit to FUNAAB Campus during the week.
The agric-based youths’ empowerment programme, which will be majorly financed by African Development Bank (AfDB), according to the statement obtained by BDSUNDAY, is aimed at empowering millions of youth agripreneurs in 30 African countries with about $50,000 to $100,000 per agribusiness and agripreneurs.
Speaking on the IITA-AfDB empowerment programme tagged, ‘Empowering Novel Agri-Business Led Empowerment (ENABLE)’, Zoumana Bamba, representative of Director-General of the programme, noted that ENABLE, is being undertaken by both IITA and AfDB to create agric-based jobs and ensuring gender balance with five years project duration.
Bamba, who led other team of ENABLE to Abeokuta to seek partnership with FUNAAB on training and empowerment of African youths on agricilture and agribusiness, disclosed that the programme would involve graduate youths from 30 African countries and would have an incubation period of between 12 to18 months.
While seeking the partnership of the agric-based institution through its Vice-Chancellor, Olusola Oyewole, Bamba highlighted the project components, to be at federal and state levels, by leveraging on the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System, development of bankable business proposal as an individual or group and access loan without collateral.
He added that the expected outcome of the project include 1,000 agripreneurs to be empowered in each state including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in which 250,000 jobs are to be created on yearly basis, as well as $50,000 to $100,000 investment loan, per agribusiness.
He stated that the expected roles of FUNAAB in the programme were to create an enabling environment for the incubation, start-up business and support in the development of agribusiness curriculum, adding that it would provide economic leverages for 70 million Nigerian youths, ranging between the ages of 15 and 34 years, for which 12.8 million were unemployed and about 15 million youths were under-employed.
Responding, Olusola Oyewole, professor and vice-chancellor of FUNAAB, who is also the president, Association of African Universities (AAU), applauded the team for its concerted efforts at engaging youths in agriculture, saying that enabling environment would be created for the take-off of the programme in FUNAAB.
Source:: Business Day Online