Increasing the participation of young people in profitable agriculture and agribusiness is crucial for sustainable agricultural development.
For Miriam Ahuna Ofaze, a young processor at the National Root Culture Research Institute in Umudik, Abia, there is now nothing between her and her goal of becoming a successful agribusiness entrepreneur.
Thanks to an innovative training program organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB) at Purdue University, Indianapolis, United States of America, because she is more convinced that she now has everything she needs to be a future winner in the world of food.
Ofoeze, one of the seven beneficiaries of the training, said she was inspired by the training conducted by experts in the field of agribusiness at Purdue University, and thanks the bank for the opportunity.
“I have a dream that one day I will do some repercussions in Africa and win the World Food prize. Participation in the program was an excellent approach and an understanding of how to move your career forward. I learned to consider each part of agriculture as a business and be able to scale it.
Interaction with conference participants also increased my network, and I hope to work with some of them soon, ”she said.
As part of its expanded youth employment employment program (ENABLE Youth), AfDB, in partnership with Purdue University, presented seven young African entrepreneurs in the field of agribusiness with innovative opportunities to expand their technology and agribusiness enterprises.
“Include youth” is a program for young African people (18-35 years old) who want to start business in the agricultural sector, which was confirmed at the Dakar High-Level Conference on Agricultural Transformation in Africa.
It enjoys the support of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
Speaking at the initiative, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina said: “We have to think a lot about African agripners.
ENABLE Youth work to help launch 300,000 agribusinesses and create eight million jobs in about 30 African countries over the next five years.
“First of all, he expects young people to develop the agricultural future of Africa, African agriculture, which relies on innovation, technology and the modernization of methods and practices, as well as the development of the value chain in this sector. Providing strong and strategic support to young agricultural entrepreneurs in Africa is in line with the priorities of the “High Five” bank, ”he added.
The large-scale conference, as the Indianapolis workshop was called, was a partnership between AfBR and Purdue University and focused on how sustainable agricultural technologies can be extended to millions of farmers to help feed a growing world population.
The mentoring program included a special “Firestarter” at the Purdue Foundry, a business incubation center, where Purdue teachers provided useful information about the commercialization of ideas and products.
A group of seven people selected from Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan and Zimbabwe had interests covering precision agriculture using drones, innovative solutions for food production, seed production for local crops and mechanization cleaning chewing gum Arabica.
Other participants, Abubakar Karim, founder and CEO of INVESTIV, a start-up company in Cote d'Ivoire, specializing in precision farming using unmanned aerial vehicles, said that the training helped him on several levels, and, like Ofoeze, he hopes to collaborate with some of the people he met on the course.
“I have established contacts with experts in the field of precision farming, who are working on interesting projects and with whom I can have concrete cooperation. Entrepreneurship training with Firestarter made me reassess and improve my business approach. It is always nice to meet people who are enthusiastic and passionate about what they are doing, ”he said.
Expressing optimism that the bank’s support will transform agriculture for future generations and encourage young people to see potential in agriculture and agribusiness, Director of Agriculture and Agribusiness Affirms Martin Fregene said that selected young people work with innovative agribusiness companies that demonstrate modernization of agriculture.
“The bank is committed to supporting youth agro-food on the continent and has invested more than $ 320 million in“ Include Youth ”projects in nine countries (Cameroon, DRC, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Sudan and Zambia), which will create more than 50,000 jobs "he said.
He noted that the training program is designed to empower young people at every stage of the agribusiness value chain through the use of new skills, technologies and funding approaches to help them build viable and profitable agribusinesses.
Fregene added that an expanded agricultural innovation conference helped participants better understand the successful, sustainable large-scale implementation and best practices of agricultural technology expansion.
Program Coordinator Edson Muisi said that AfDB is working with African youth and women to stimulate entrepreneurship and facilitate access to technology and networks.
“This, in turn, will create a thriving agribusiness sector in Africa, thereby increasing rural employment and improving livelihoods, making agriculture attractive and profitable for young people,” he said.
For a young entrepreneur, Eliza Khabumukiza: “As part of the conference on a scale, I helped expand the network of partners that will help me achieve the mission of my agribusiness to eradicate the problem of malnutrition.”
Appreciating the aspirations, passion and natural inclinations of young entrepreneurs, dear president, research assistant for global development at Purdue University, Carolyn Wu, said that the foundry provides a systematic approach and discipline that will allow them to anticipate challenges and make important decisions.