Accra, March 11, GNA – The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in collaboration with The African Development Bank (AfDB), has launched a project to develop a youth scheme for food security and income in Africa.
The project, Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme Phase 1 (ATASP-1) based in Abuja, Nigeria is financed by AfDB to the tune of USD 170 million.
It is aimed at creating additional incomes to an increased number of producers and entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector in Nigeria by providing about 120,000 jobs along the value chain of priority commodities. An additional 20 million tons of key commodity food crops including cassava, rice, and sorghum will be added to the domestic food supply each year.
The project will also develop outreach models with young entrepreneurs in agriculture, dubbed; ‘IITA youth agripreneurs’ to be implemented by IITA in Ibadan, Oyo State, and in DR Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia.
The Agripreneurs would be promoting agriculture among other young people in their regions through peer education, training and demonstration of agricultural best practices, and business skills in value chain development.
Dr Nteranya Sanginga, IITA’s Director General explained that many young people are migrating to cities all over Africa in search of business opportunities, leaving behind an increasingly ageing population.
The challenge, he said, was to create business opportunities for productive activity in agriculture and non-farm enterprises.
‘This project aims to build on the youth model developed in IITA to change mindsets of young men and women and gainfully engage them in agriculture,’ he added.
AfDB’s Chief Country Program Coordinator, Andoh Mensah, explained that the project would capitalize on IITA’s participatory approach and will train and retrain young men and women along the commodity value chains.
According to him, the ATASP-1 was part of the Bank’s efforts in contributing to the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the Government of Nigeria, which aimed at creating 3.5 million jobs along key crop value chains.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria, Dr Akinwumi Adesina noted that agriculture was now an exciting sector, adding, ‘Today, major local and international investors are investing in this sector and the number of seed companies alone has risen dramatically and the banks are lending to the sector more than ever before.’
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