The Federal Government has called for the development of business skills in Nigerian youths through agricultural empowerment as a way of securing a better future for them.
This was the outcome of a three-day entrepreneurial and business training workshop organized by the Federal Government in partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on the theme: “Empowering Agripreneurs on Agripreneural and Business Management,” which was held at the headquarters of the institute’s conference centre in Ibadan between the 3rd and 5th of February.
The workshop had an array of professionals who spoke on different topics ranging from leadership and self-management in entrepreneurship, essentials of business skills, corporate governance, business accounting, effective sales and marketing strategies and creation of bankable businesses.
The topics according to the speakers were aimed at creating and enhancing the productivity and profitability of the agripreneurs’ enterprise with the aim of transforming the participants’ attitudes and strengthening their skills.
The Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina had before the commencement of the workshop in a media briefing, admonished young people to stop seeing agriculture as a tool for development but as a business.
“Presently, Nigeria is said to be losing 1.2 trillion naira every year through the poorly developed and inefficient agricultural sector. These inefficiencies could be eliminated if we have young people who will get into the sector and change the face of how things are done,” he stated.
To respond to these challenges according to him, IITA established the Youth Agripreneurs scheme which consisted of 35 young women and men focusing on promoting agriculture among other young people through training and demonstration on agricultural best practices and the value chain in Nigeria.
The scheme he said, has offices in Tanzania, DR Congo, and Zambia, adding that participants in the training have been selected from five countries across Africa: Kenya, Zambia, DR Congo, Tanzania, and Uganda.
“Nigeria’s future millionaires and billionaires will make their money from agriculture,” Dr. Adesina further attested.
In an interview with WESTERN POST, one of the facilitators and keynote speakers at the workshop, Mrs. Lolade Adesola explained that the need to develop the business skills of the agripreneurs was the reason that necessitated the workshop.
According to her, the facilitators were aware of the agripreneurs technical skills and lack of adequate business skills. She maintained that the hope of the organisers and facilitators was that the beneficiaries would continue to practice, explore and improve themselves. Stating also that, follow up programs have been put in place to check the action plans of the beneficiaries overtime.
However, participants at the workshop collectively attested to having learnt a lot, stating that the workshop was an eye opener to the various agricultural opportunities which could be a way of bringing positive change to their lives.