Open Day: Beneficiaries of IITA Youth Agripreneur training give life transforming testimonies


…As IITA receives 56,000 applications for next training, incubation programme

It was harvests of testimonies yesterday at Oyo State-IITA Youth Agribusiness Park Centre, Awe, as the beneficiaries of the Empowering Novel Agribusiness Led Employment, one of the compacts of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (ENABLE-TAAT) funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) gave life transforming testimonies of the compact.

One by one, the beneficiaries filed out along with their products to tell their stories as the stakeholders marveled at what the IITA through its Youth in Agribusiness office had been able to achieve with the compact within a short period of time.

Among those who testified was a citizen of Benin Republic, a French speaking country, Adonai da NATHA SANT’ANNA who at present is the Chief Executive Officer of NAI Food, a food processing company dealing majorly on fruit juices, dry fruit and soya chips.

Giving her testimony, SANT’ANNA disclosed that all her juices were without additive and preservatives adding that all her products were all natural as she preserves them by pasteurization.

“I will say that agriculture is not only about rearing animals, poultry, producing vegetables; it is also about processing what others have already produced. I have been in this business for four years now and I am making profits from it, I don’t do any other business, I am my own boss. What I need is just partners and I am still looking for partners in Nigeria to work with”, she declared.

Also speaking, another beneficiary from Edo state, Frank Imochi expressed his gratitude to the ENABLE-TAAT which he said empowered him last year through training adding that during the training, they put him through how to clear the land, prepare the soil, the planting process, the number of seeds, the kind of species needed to be planted and how to apply chemical.

“So, after the process of training in the year 2020, I have had a lot of challenges. I went ahead to do practical and I went and cultivated four plots of land and inside those four plots of land, there were a lot of drought. You know, last season, there wasn’t too much of rain, I was able to harvest 300kg out of my four plots and I was amazed. When you multiply it into a hectare, it will give you 1.5 tons.

“I said let me try more of the land. This year, I decided to cultivate 25 acres of land which is equivalent to ten hectares. I tell us this truth, my corn has grown appreciably and I have an assurance that I will be harvesting four to five tons per hectare and I am very sure about that. In fact, with the encouragement I have gotten, I have to call Mr. Osun and said, ‘Sir, I need more land because I need to make a lot of profits’, and he said, ‘calm down, more are coming.”

He therefore encouraged the youths to see agriculture not just as a rich business but a wealthy business saying “it is a business you will do and it will not fail you. Let us try it with training, understanding and practical, we can make it better.”

On her part, Onafowoko Roseline, Chief Executive Officer, Kushard Limited, disclosed that her company is into crop production like cassava, plantain and vegetable, agro-chemical where they supply chemical to farmers, companies among others as well as feed production for animals, fish and poultry farmers.

She informed that her company was certified this year as seed producer in Nigeria by the National Seed Council of Nigeria.

“We are certified to be producing maize, soya beans and so on. We are also into fabrication of machines like planters, seed harvesters, shelling machines and so on.

“I can convince you right now that seed production in Nigeria, farming is not just a way of life, it is a business. If only you can take agriculture as a business because I am one of the first batch of IITA Youth Agripreneurs and when I was going, they said I should join the business incubation platform. I joined like two years and I now decided to leave to start my own business, now I do not regret leaving IITA. In fact, we have our own office at Moniya junction and we are fully into business. We have our own permanent office, we have our farms, we have our tractors and so on”, she said enthusiastically.

Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, F-STEP Cassava Enterprise, Seun Ogidan said, “I am a product of IITA Youth Agripreneur and I am into cassava stem multiplication and root production. It is a business I have been doing for a very long time and I do it as a profitable business not as a farmer. And since I have been doing this business, I realized that if I invest the sum of N320,000, after the production, that is application of the technologies that we are talking about for good agricultural production like spraying of herbicides at the right time, application of fertilizer, I do see three times of my investment for my production.

”Not even now that God has blessed farmers, so, with what we have now, we can see minimum of four times of what we input in production. For me, I am into stem multiplication and the same time root production, I am a testimony to the farmers that cassava production is a good business if you can invest very well, maintain our farms very well and we will get a good yield for it.”

According to Awelewa Olaronke,Chief Executive Officer, TP Gold Food Ventures, “We produce Moringa Hair Cream for the sake of our mummies and our aunties because they complain of their front hairs that usually cut. After using this TP Gold Moringa Hair Cream, you will see the changes. If you plant Moringa by yourself, within some months, it will grow and you will be harvesting it for this product.

“I thank the IITA that gave me this opportunity; they gave me light because they were the ones that gave me the opportunity to learn this Moringa Hair Cream that I am producing. I don’t have any work that I am doing before but IITA gave me this opportunity to have this TP Gold Moringa Hair Cream.”

Meanwhile, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has announced its plan to commence its training and incubation programme in May this year at the Oyo State-IITA Youth Agribusiness Park Centre, Awe, Oyo state.

Speaking on the upcoming training and incubation programme, Mr. Waheed Oni stated that for next set of training, the centre would be focusing on five key areas namely; crop production, animal husbandry – sheep and goats, aquaculture both production and processing, vegetable especially, the green house production and value addition.

Oni said, “We launched an application for the first project that we will be doing training here, all things being equal by next month. We received over 56,000 applications and that has been giving us a lot of headache. We have been doing a lot of screening to ensure we have the best candidates for the training because we understand that if we don’t have quality candidates at the entry point, it will be difficult for us to have good and worthy candidates at the end.”

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