SCORES of youths who were trained in agribusiness enterprises have relived their success stories to stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
The event held at the International Conference Centre of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) had in attendance the IITA DDG-P4D, Dr Kenton Dashiell representative; AfricaRice Regional Representative in Nigeria, Dr Francis Nwilene representative; Commissioner and Special Adviser for Agriculture in Oyo and Ekiti States; Researchers; NAFDAC; NUJ, Chamber of Commerce, WEMA Bank, and a host of others.
The youths, who were enlisted in Youth Employment in Agribusiness and Sustainable Agriculture (YEASA) IFAD project said their lives have changed considerably after the intensive training received in diverse fields of agriculture and their attendant value chain.
Some of the youths empowered by YEASA project who managed to set up highly profitable businesses for knowledge products and had attained independence in their ventures included Omole Abiodun (Moringa), Adewole Dauda (Moringa); Bolaji Ogunwale (Fishery); Folake Awoniyi (Fishery), Oluwafolakemi Obitokun (Fishery), Adeniji Adewale (Fishery). Oluwafemi Makinde (Cassava) and Taiwo Adeiza (Cassava).
Other areas where participants were trained included Cowpea/Soybean enterprise, Plantain/Banana Enterprise, Maize Enterprise, Rice enterprise and Agri-fabrication and mechanisation enterprise.
The YEASA project manager, Prof. Amos Onasanya who gave the overall project performance of the trainees and the support from partners including Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD); AfricaRice, IITA, University of Abomey-Calavi Benin Republic, and a host of others, lauded the initiative.
Prof Onasanya told the national and local stakeholders who gathered at the workshop that IFAD-YEASA project was a three-year project that targeted 1,000 unemployed youths; 650 from Nigeria and 350 from the Benin Republic, respectively.
Onasanya said since the project’s inception on February 19, 2019, over 10,000 youths applied online for YEASA training out of which 1,000 were selected and trained.
“They received hands-on training from which 894 received grants and established 894 youths agribusiness enterprises in Nigeria and Benin Republic with 600 and 294 youths as beneficiaries from both countries respectively.
“As a result of confirmation of this positive entrepreneurial environment, 600 youths from Nigeria who were awarded a grant, managed to establish their agribusiness, acquired additional capital equipment, employed youth and schemed an average monthly income of USD93/youth.
“Likewise in the Benin Republic, 294 youths who were awarded a grant, managed to establish their agribusiness with an average grant capital growth of 62.4 per cent and corresponding average monthly income of $95/youth.
“Besides, 626 participants who founded an enterprise worked in synergy and trained other youths and employed around 80% of trained youths without grants including other youths in the communities. In conclusion, a total of 2,363 youths were employed under YEASA project,” Onasanya added.
He said critical focus areas where the youths were tutored included the development of their managerial, technical, business, entrepreneurial and life skills.