Agrihub launch: Partners meet to map out project plan
On 13 and 14 July, the team of partners working on the implementation of the Integrated Agribusiness Hub project organized a virtual workshop to discuss strategies to actualize project goals.
The ceremonial inception workshop was organized to officially launch the project and create an avenue for partners and representatives of donor organizations to share views on intended project operations and receive feedback from stakeholders on improving the project plan.
The Integrated Agribusiness Hub is a five-year project funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). It aims to empower African youth through the establishment of a network of youth-centered Agribusiness Hubs across Africa. These Hubs are intended to be transformational and would integrate agricultural production and processing at two levels: (i) through imparting skill sets among employment track youth (70% of trainees), and (ii) through equipping and backstopping young entrepreneurs (30% of trainees). The project will help young people access employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in the fast-growing horticulture, aquaculture, poultry, cassava, maize, and agricultural processing sectors in Nigeria.
In his presentation, Tom Anyonge, IFAD Lead Technical Specialist, explained, “It takes a combination of talent, technical knowledge, and capital working together with good integration to be able to create jobs for the youth.”
Kenton Dashiell, Deputy Director General, Partnerships for Delivery, IITA, reaffirmed IITA’s commitment to empowering youth in agriculture; “We are expected to share our experiences in agriculture with others so that our impact and reach will help groups in Nigeria and Africa.”
Debo Akande, Oyo State government adviser on agribusiness matters, emphasized the State’s support to the program and promised to integrate the program into the six existing state agricultural programs.
Likewise, Adoyi Ochigbo, Director General, Anambra Imo River Basin Development Authority (AIRBDA) in Owerri, expressed the State’s willingness to support the program and create an enabling environment for the project to run smoothly.
For the project kick-off, Oyo and Imo states were chosen strategically to accommodate youth from surrounding states. The Oyo hub (Ibadan–IITA) will host youth in the Southwest (Osun, Ondo, Ogun, and Lagos states) while the Hub in Imo (Owerri–Songhai) will accommodate youth in the South-South/Southeast (Abia, Anambra, Rivers, Delta, etc.)
It is expected that in year 2 of the project, the scope of coverage will extend to cover the northern part of the country with flexible selection criteria on the category of youth targeted under the program.
The workshop had in attendance representatives from IFAD, GIZ, IITA, Songhai, APDC, Ekimiks, AIRDBA in Imo State, the Oyo State Government, private institutions, financial institutions, ICT firms, job recruitment firms, youth organizations, input suppliers, serial entrepreneurs, FADAMA, and existing IFAD projects in Nigeria.
The IFAD Agribusiness Hub program in Nigeria is a national intervention program with gender sensitivity and flexible selection criteria. The program will produce two sets of young people: (i) entrepreneurs who are business owners (agripreneurs) managing their respective businesses and would employ a number of youth in their business operations; (ii) well-equipped set of youth that would attract decent jobs based on the skill set acquired during the hub engagement.
The project will also award special grants to youth with outstanding innovative ideas.