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AfDB, IITA, ministry target 120,000 jobs in agric sector


THE African Development Bank (AfDB)  in collaboration with   the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)  recently in Abuja launched the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme Phase 1 (ATASP-1).  

Meanwhile, a significant part of the project is aimed at developing outreach models with young entrepreneurs in agriculture tagged: “IITA youth agripreneurs”.

    According to a statement, the component will be implemented by IITA which has established a Youth Agripreneurs scheme at its Headquarters in Ibadan, Oyo State, and in DR Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia.

    The Agripreneurs are 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.

    The ATASP-1 is financed by AfDB to the tune of  $170 million and  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 statement said: “All over Africa, many young people are migrating to cities in search of business opportunities, leaving behind an increasingly ageing population. The challenge is to create business opportunities for productive activity in agriculture and non-farm enterprises,” said Dr Nteranya Sanginga, IITA’s Director General during the launch in an interview with reporters.

   He added:” 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.”  

   AfDB’s Chief Country Programme Coordinator, Andoh Mensah, explained that the project would capitalize on IITA’s participatory approach and would train and retrain young men and women along the commodity value chains.

According to him, the ATASP-1 is part of the Bank’s efforts in contributing to the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the Government of Nigeria, which aims to create 3.5 million jobs along key crop value chains.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria, Dr Akinwumi Adesina was quoted as saying  “Africa’s future millionaires and billionaires will make their money from agriculture,” as the governments marshal out plans to unlock wealth from the soil.

     He said agriculture is now an exciting sector. “Today, major local and international investors are investing in this sector. The number of seed companies alone has risen dramatically and the banks are lending to the sector more than ever before.”

    The statement said Adesina is among the five candidates who have been shortlisted to contest the presidency of the African Development Bank, “The AfDB Board said the selection of the most eligible candidates to succeed President Donald Kaberuka was done by a Steering Committee of the Board of        Governors at a meeting held in Abidjan on 11 February 2015.  Ethiopia’s Finance Minister, Sufian Ahmed; Cape Verdean Finance Minister, Cristina Kamara; the current Vice President of the Islamic Development Bank, Birama Sidibe; and Chad’s Finance Minister, Kordjé Bedoumra have also been shortlisted for the elections slated for May 2015”.

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