Press Release by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture.
I want to thank IITA for the great job they are doing in transforming Nigeria’s agriculture,” the Minister who was visiting the station for the first time said.
After listening to the testimonies from some of the IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) in Abuja Station who had benefitted from several training sessions conducted by the ATASP-1 program, the elated Minister said “I am very impressed by the passion our youth have displayed here today and the excellent work these young people are doing in agriculture. I will bring you (IYA) on TV to talk to other Nigerian youth about agribusiness.” During the Minister’s tour of the mini food and tools exhibition, he also promised to set up a mini processing center for IYA, where they can scale up their value-adding confectionariy.
The Minister was conducted around the new building, where he took time to see the facilities, and asked questions about the content and duration of the youth training. He also promised that his Ministry will support the training programs.
The ATASP-1 Youth Training Center which is strategically located at the entrance of IITA station in Abuja, houses a training room, conference center, and offices for the ATASP-1 Project staff and the ENABLE Youth Program. The center in Abuja is expected to serve the youth around the North Central part of Nigeria, the center in Kano caters for the youth in North East and North West, and the center in Onne in Rivers state will focus on the youth in South East and South-South Nigeria. Under the ATASP-1 Program, about 200,000 youth are expected to be trained along the cassava, rice, and sorghum value chains.
The Head of Abuja Station, Gbassey Tarawali, who doubles as the Outreach Coordinator of ATASP-1 and represented the IITA Director General at this event, explained to the Minister that “Our Youth Agripreneurs program is meant to address poverty and the high unemployment rate among the young people.”
“One of the major challenges facing farmers in ATASP-1 intervention is shortage of quality seeds. The trained youth will at the end of the program produce seeds for farmers in their various locations,” Haruna Akwashiki, National Program Coordinator of ATASP-1 stated.
During the event, the Minister also flagged off the national youth training on seed production and processing technology, which ran concurrently in Kano and Niger states. “This training is very strategic, as the availability of quality seeds at the right time is crucial to enhanced productivity,” the Minister stated.
It will be recalled that the foundation laying stone ceremony for the ATASP-1 Youth Training Center was done in 2015 by the President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina while he was Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.