40 youths receive N7.5m grant from IITA, AfricaRice project




Forty youths from Oyo and Ekiti states on Friday received farming equipment and cash worth N7.5 million from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and AfricaRice.

The beneficiaries are participants who completed the two-week training under the Youth Employment in Agri-business and Sustainable agriculture (YEASA) project sponsored by International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD).

The YEASA Project Coordinator at IITA, Miss Yemi Adunoye, said this during the Grant Award ceremony held at IITA, Ibadan, that the youths were trained on cultivation of different commodities such as cassava, maize, soybean and cowpea.

According to her, the training entailed production, value addition as well as soft skills such as marketing, emotional intelligence and customer relations.

She said that the aim was to reduce unemployment rate by providing the youths with entrepreneurship and technical agricultural skills to enable them establish profitable agri-business enterprises.

“The event is to award them a starter pack, including multipurpose weeder, knives, grinding machines, sealing machine, gas burner and gas cylinder,” she said.

Also speaking, the AfricaRice Regional Representative and Coordinator, Dr Francise Nwilene, said the border closure would serve as a good market platform for youths to thrive in agriculture and food production, thereby creating more jobs.

He noted that AfricaRice was interested in empowering youths through agriculture.

“It’s not enough to train people without empowering them.

“We want to see millionaires among youths, we can’t continue to import rice while we have vibrant youths who can produce that in the country,” Nwilene said.

The YEASA Project Manager, Prof. Amos Onasanya, advised the trainees to use the equipment and cash wisely in their local areas.

He urged them to be self disciplined so as to succeed in life as well as work as a team to make more profit.

“We will certainly be checking your business and anyone that’s doing well will have more reward and additional training,” he said. (NAN)