IITA Youth celebrate International Youth Day
The IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) and Business Incubation Platform (BIP) joined the rest of the world to celebrate International Youth Day (IYD) 2019 with a symposium themed, “Transforming Education,” on 15 August. This year’s IYD highlighted the need for transformation in education systems to make them more inclusive, equitable, and relevant for the 21st century.
The annual IYD is part of public information activities to bring awareness to the role of young people as essential partners in regional and global change. It serves as an opportunity to highlight the challenges and problems facing the world’s youth.
Program Coordinator of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), Chrys Akem opened the symposium during which he discussed the objectives of TAAT and the need for youth to take agribusiness as a passion. He said to the youth, “Don’t give up on agribusiness, good things don’t come easy, but we will do all we can to help you. I assure you that TAAT is strongly behind you.”
Paul Woomer, Technical Adviser to IYA, praised IITA’s commitment to youth involvement in agribusiness. He also encouraged the youth to come up with stronger business plans that can facilitate funding. He said, “We have a huge challenge before us, but we also have the tools and teamwork needed to meet those expectations.”
IITA encourages youth engagement in agribusiness in Africa with its “agripreneur” model of youth in agribusiness. Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa have adopted this model and the Institute is actively involved in socioeconomic research that has contributed significantly to advance the world’s research agenda to include mentoring and coaching youth.
Presenters at the symposium emphasized that empowering youth to become innovators and “agripreneurs” is key to solving some of the most binding constraints to the growth of a prosperous agricultural sector, thriving agribusiness value chains, and improved food and nutrition security.
Representatives of IYA, BIP, and the Nigerian National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) encouraged the youth to embrace agribusiness as a means of sustaining themselves instead of looking for white collar jobs that might not allow them to discover their real capabilities.