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The Innovative Youth in Agriculture project aims to develop the skills of young people between the ages of 15-35 years in securing gainful employment and entrepreneurs within the agrifood value chain sector in Nigeria but with special interest in those who live in Lagos, Kano and Kaduna states.
This project is implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in partnership with the Young Africa Works-Mastercard Foundation.
IITA is collaborating with the Foundation to build the capacity of 40,000 direct beneficiaries and enable 242,724 indirect beneficiaries with special focus on agriculture especially women-led businesses in the three states. The training will focus on preparing the youths for employment and entrepreneurship tracks through physical and online learning platforms.

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To strengthen the training curricula, learning modules, and tools along with trainer capacities in secondary schools, vocational centers and farmer movements in a manner that enhances their abilities to provide youth- and gender-responsive training in modern agricultural technologies and profitable agribusiness enterprises.

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To provide female and male secondary school students and recent school leavers with relevant and responsive practical training in agricultural technologies and agribusiness management in order to enhance their skills to compete equally for decent and productive work opportunities or develop their own successful businesses in agriculture and agro-processing.

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To transition vocational training centers and other agricultural facilities into Youth Agribusiness Parks in each State offering the workspace, experiential learning opportunities and collective services required for agribusiness incubation and acceleration that is youth- and gender-responsive; and to see Project tools and mechanisms adopted by other facilities, including additional Nigerian State governments.

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To develop youth-sensitive loan and agribusiness support programs with financial institutions that recognize the specialized needs of youth (especially young women) as agricultural borrowers, and that reduce risks involved when young people obtain credit for agricultural investment purposes.

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To establish and operate a Project Coordination and Management Office that oversees all collaborative activities and serves as a linkage to the other Young Africa Works activities; and that propels its benefits to other Nigerian States and African countries.

The strategy focuses on the agriculture portfolio, but liaises and shares lessons with its Digital Economy and Creative Entrepreneurship counterparts as well. It works with youth aged between 15 and 35 years old in ways that lead to fulfilling self-employment (entrepreneurship) and employment in several key agrifood systems across three Nigerian states (Kaduna, Kano and Lagos).

Skill youth in secondary and vocational institutions with modern agriculture and agribusiness techniques including a key focus on urban agriculture and value added processing;

Incubate and accelerate youth owned enterprises through a cluster approach of agribusiness parks and youth club networks;

Develop and network integrated agribusiness hubs to provide support services that link youth to land, business finance, out-grower programmes and other markets, employment placement services, agrodealer and extension services as well as provide youth owned agribusinesses with access to common services such as land preparation, irrigation, marketing and information;

Strengthen the education ecosystem by improving agriculture curriculum, training tools and capacities of trainers in secondary and vocational institutions;

Strengthen agriculture market systems through convening of problem driven industry round tables with key value chain actors, facilitating coordination and collaboration of private and state market actors in complementary activities, foster integration with other relevant activities of Young Africa Works Nigeria partners.

The aim of this project is the establishment of transformational actions that will address the key barriers women face across agricultural value chains.

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