Youths in Oyo State engaged in agriculture businesses smile to their banks

 Youths in Oyo State engaged in agriculture businesses with support of two international organisations are smiling to their banks.

Support came to the youths from a UK-based business advocacy programme, Enhancing Nigerian Advocacy for a Better Business Environment (ENABLE).

It was established to promote and improve business environment for poor men and women.

ENABLE is funded by UK’s Department for International Development.

It used the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) as implementing agency for the youths to benefit from its Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) project.

Youths who benefited from the project are self-sufficient and have become employers of labour.

They expressed their joy on Tuesday in Awe, Oyo State as they showcased their products at the ENABLE TAAT Open/Exhibition day.

One of them, Mrs Adewunmi Uthman, now Chief Executive Officer of O’Wunmi Foods, said she could process foods conveniently through the technologies she learnt from the ENABLE TAAT project.

“When I started, I had no knowledge of food production/processing, but now I can process foods to the most convenient, simplest form any woman will love in the kitchen.

“Our beans flour for making `akara’ (bean cakes) is so good that one can have the bean cakes in just one minute; agriculture is indeed gold; youths should just go and dig into it,’’ she said.

Another beneficiary, Mrs Seun Ogidan, CEO of F-STEP Cassava Enterprise, said she was able to make maximum yield through the training, technologies and support of the project.

“With the technologies at hand, we make as much as four-fold of what we used to make after harvesting cassava.

“Cassava production is a good business anyone who knows what he’s doing can benefit from,’’ she said.

Similarly, Mrs Roseline Onafowokan, CEO of Kushards Ltd., said she became an employer through the training she got on crop and agro-chemicals production.

“I was in the first batch of IITA agri-prenuer programme, but now I’m fully into production of animal feeds and have my own agri-business,’’ she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that many other youths, who described agriculture as goldmine, said they became self-sufficient through the programme.

Earlier, IITA TAAT Coordinator, Dr Chrys Akem, said the project was co-funded by the African Development Bank to make youths become proficient in agriculture business.

He said one of the objectives was to operate technologies and innovation centres for young people on specific commodity value chains through a mechanism called food basket outreach.

Akem said the Open Day was organised at the Awe youth agri-business centre, established by IITA and Oyo State government to demonstrate technologies developed through the project.

“We want to reach out to the community, especially youths to improve their incomes and livelihoods.

“The centre was established to train youths on various aspects of agriculture so that they can take it as business and be self-sufficient,’’ he said.

Mr Olushola Popoola, Oyo State Coordinator, Youth Entrepreneurship in Agri-business Project, said government established agri-business development agency to train youths and engage them in the business.

“About 95 per cent of farmers are already ageing, so there is need to start engaging youths in modernised agriculture.

“It’s time to make our youths gainfully employed through agri-business,’’ Popoola stressed. (NAN)