On the 20th of September, 2017, the founder of GLA: Mrs. Jacinta Uramah-Eze was invited to the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for the first edition of their ‘Agrinaires’ program- a concept birthed by the youth corp members of the institute for the youths of the Nigerian society at large. The program was themed “Attracting and Retaining Youths in Agriculture” and was graced by many notable pillars of society including our very own representatives from GLA.
IITA is an award-winning non-profit institution that was established in 1967 in Ibadan, Nigeria with several other research stations across Africa. IITA’s research-for-development (R4D) focuses on addressing the development needs of tropical countries and also generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty and natural resource degradation. Working with various partners across sub-Saharan Africa to improve livelihood, enhance food and nutrition security, increase employment and preserve natural resource integrity.
It was a great priviledge and honour for GLA to be a part of the seminar as GLA is a strong advocate for youth empowerment, self sufficiency and agricultural development as was also implied during the program.
Dignitaries present were the Director General IITA- Dr. NteranyaSanginga, the Deputy Director General, Partnership for Delivery, IITA- Dr. Kenton Dashiell, the Commissioner for Youth and Sport, Oyo State- Honourable Yomi Oke, the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurial Development (SAED) Coordinator for Oyo State –Mrs. Mariam Omogha who represented the State Coordinator, NYSC Oyo State – Mrs. Ifeoma Anidobi, Mr. John Agboola representing our partners “YPARD”, Nigeria and other distinguished speakers and guests.
Mrs. Jacinta Uramah-Eze (Founder, GLA) spoke as one of the numerous Agro Testimonials for the day which was made up of Mr. Hammed Oni of Frotchery Farms Limited (a beneficiary of the IITA IYA program) and Mr. Adenuga Adeniyi of Tepebo International Limited (an ex- corper at IITA). She gave a short but comprehensive piece on GLA- the start-up, the challenges, the bright side and great moments, the journey so far and words of encouragement to the future generation of Agriculture; the youths.
During the course of the seminar, a lot was shared and there was even a 6-man panel discussion on “Is ‘mind-set change’ or ‘infrastructure’ the most important to attract Africa’s youth into Agriculture?”,
Key points and highlights of the seminar for our collective benefit is:
• With a population of over 200 million people, Nigeria is a very rich and viable market for goods and services.
• Most activities on the farm in Nigeria are still very much drudgery and crude in nature.
• Youths need to see the bigger picture in the agricultural value chain (both inter and intra-value chains).
• In order to be truly successful, you have to be able to answer ‘why do I want to go into Agriculture’ convincingly.
• With the reality of poor production/yield and climate change which could affect the profitability of a business; youths must be careful not to rush into agriculture.
• Youths in agriculture have to create their own space and find solutions to changes within the areas and have full conviction in this space or career.
• Agriculture is not a quick-fix or get-rich-quick scheme; you can only get paid for solving a problem.
• There are a lot of limitations, problems and factors (both internal and external) that affect agriculture at each and every given time such as human behavior, government policies, farm inputs, absence of price regulation systems etc.
• There are a lot of new and viable investment opportunities along the value chain especially supply and transport.
• Utilization of ancillary disciplines is very important in Agriculture like ICT, packaging and branding.
• For effectiveness, efficiency,productivity and profitability science and technology is the key, not trial and error; but a result of research, training and testing.
• The key to productivity and profitability in Agriculture is Precision and Passion.
• The earlier the mindset of people especially youths are changed the better and easier the acceptance of agriculture.
• Mentoring and coaching is also very important for retaining youths in agriculture.
• To ensure the preservation of farm resources and continuity of the farm, community farming is encouraged.
On a closing note, we would like to end in the words of Hon. Kehinde Ayoola (Former Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly)…
“Agriculture is capable of a lot and so much more, it has within it opportunities for national cohesion and unity and also sustainable economic and environmental development”
Thank you so much for your time.
Looking forward to seeing you soon on our next blog post and follow-up stories….
By Oluwaseyi Olasoji, Youth Volunteer, GLA