The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Dr Nteranya Sanginga, the Director General, received commendations at the 15th anniversary of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) held at Johannesburg, South Africa, 26-29 November 2014.
At the event, there were various sessions and panel discussions where representatives of the IITA Youth Agripreneurs: Odusanya Oludare and Owoeye Molayo, championed the cause of youth engagement in agriculture.
The panel discussion began with presentations from the two agripreneurs who showcased some of the activities and the prospects of involving the youth in agriculture to reduce the level and effects of youth unemployment in Africa.
In their presentations, the IYA representatives stated that the importance of youth involvement could not be over-emphasized as this would re-shape the agricultural sector and give it a new face.
While commenting on the activities of the group, Dr Fina Opio, the Executive Director of Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), stated that changing the mind-set of young people would go a long way in improving the sector.
She stated, “If we can change their mind-set and let the youth know they can run agriculture as a business, I think they will make headway. I have visited IITA and seen what their young people are doing. I even went to Ondo State in Nigeria with them and wish to congratulate them. I love their energy.” She called for support to sustain the zeal and enthusiasm displayed by the youth.
Giving kudos to IITA, Dr Simon Mwaze of the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) stated that young people needed to be mentored so as to keep them on the path which they had chosen. He said, “They know what to do; they just need to be mentored.”