Young farmers in Action
In Zaria local government in kaduna state, we moved into Hayin Sambo and Maraban Guga communities to train a special group of youths categorized as “Young Farmers.”
Young Farmers are less educated youth and women within rural communities between the ages of 18 – 35 years who are already engaged in the production or processing of chosen commodities with a target of 50% men and women participation to ensure gender equity. The training for this category of beneficiaries is focused on improving their production output through the introduction to improved technologies (Good Agronomic Practices – GAP) and/or standardize value addition skills to enable them compete favorably within their communities. These departing beneficiaries will be grouped and registered in a cooperative (if not already in one) to better place them in a position to access finance and operate as self-employed commercial farmers but with skill sets required to make them compete within the larger rural farming community.
Business Development Services
In preparation for Nigeria’s business environment, the Young Africa Works-IITA’s project business development effort in the week was channeled towards exposing the beneficiaries to business regulatory bodies and system. Organizations such as Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) were at various centres in the states to sensitize the youths. Financial institutions (Sterling Bank, Union Bank, Chamber of Commerce etc.) were also invited to sensitize the youths and provide linkages on available opportunities to credit facilities for business establishment and expansion.
STEPping up in Lagos
The Start Them Early component of Young Africa Works-IITA Project (STEP) is exploring a distinctive approach in Lagos state by introducing urban agriculture and value addition to the students. This will form the establishment of extracurricular clubs, which will function as STEP Agribusiness Clubs led by students, and the use of experiential learning to stimulate the interest of students in modern farming.