WELCOME ADDRESS BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT OF NIGERIA, DR. AKINWUMI ADESINA REPRESENTED BY DR. LEKAN QUADRI

Dr Lekan Quadri
Dr. Lekan Quadri (representative of the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Nigeria, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina) delivering the welcome speech

It is indeed my privilege and honour to present this address in this workshop titled Agripreneurial and Business Management Training.

  1. We are all aware of the high youth unemployment situation in this country, like in other nations worldwide, and its consequences on our socio-economic well-being, which fortunately the Transformation Agenda of Mr. President (Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan) is addressing aggressively through the various interventions in different sectors of the economy. Nigeria is an agrarian economy and the fact that for years the country has not given agriculture the right attention due in part to over reliance on oil, is partly at the root of the unemployment problem. To put Nigeria on the right trajectory, the Transformation Agenda has unequivocally recognized agriculture as the sector with the biggest potential for mass job creation and the most viable for poverty alleviation among both graduated and rural youth as well as women.
  2. In 2011 and in recognition of this fact, Mr. President (Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan ) directed that the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, in addition to food and nutritional security, focus on massive job creation for the youth. Accordingly, my Ministry (FMARD) under technical assistance of UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and consultation with youth and other stakeholders, designed and developed the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP). This was followed by its approval by the National Agricultural Council in 2013 and official launching during the 2013 Economic Summit by Mr. President (Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan). The presentation and discussion at these forums was to garner support from all stakeholders, to underscore the importance of issue of youth empowerment in the country and to serve as an advocacy tool for all to contribute to the realisation of Mr. President’s vision on youth empowerment for our dear country Nigeria.
  3. Nigeria is reported to have about 67 million youth, 50% of which were unemployed in 20t1. This was more than double that of Ghana at 25.6% and the national average at 23,9% in 2011, which unfortunately has also been growing by 16% annually since 2007.

       The 1991 census recorded 88 million people as the population of        Nigeria, which doubled by 20 years later to 165 million people.              This means that 50% of Nigeria’s population, or approximately              80 million Nigerians, were born in the last 20 years. This                             population explosion has had a dramatically negative effect on             youth employment as an ever-increasing number of youth enter           the workforce, with limited prospect for employment. There are           simply not enough jobs to keep up with the growing youth                         population.

  1. Ladies and Gentlemen, with our natural endowment for agriculture as you are all aware, Mr. President (Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan) has made it a cardinal pillar in his Transformation policies to address gender inequalities in Nigeria, because with 49% of Nigeria’s population being women, it is smarter economics to address the issue of women empowerment in all our policies and programmes. There are enormous opportunities in the sector for employment and wealth creation for our teeming youth population. Therefore, Agripreneural and Business Management training will be the vehicle that will properly situate our youth – both males and females to seize these opportunities for self-realisation and employment generati on.
  2. Agripreneural and Business Management training, ladies and gentlemen, will provide this nation with the vehicle to change the fortunes of our teeming youth population and by extension the nation. However it requires a collaborative approach and contributions of all from the public to private, civil societies and donor communities to attain the level of success it is capable of delivering. Specifically, I wish to appeal to high net worth individuals, political office holders and the corporate world to channel a large chunk of your Corporate Social Responsibility budgets to upscale or contribute to youth employment in agriculture through support to enabling environment, patient capital windows, revitalization of our extension systems, provision of social safety nets, increase access to productive resources for youth and women especially in the rural areas. These measures will enable our youth and women to unlock and access the employment generation potentials of the sector and set Nigeria on the way to industrialization.
  3. Finally, I want to thank the Management of EKIMIKS NIG. LTD for organizing this event in partnership with IITA.

I would like to use this opportunity to appeal to all our corporate bodies to emulate EKIMIKS NIG. LTD in the nation’s quest to provide a sustainable solution to youth unemployment in Nigeria.

I want to personally acknowledge the immense contribution of the DG IITA (Dr. Nteranya Sanginga) for the youth in Agriculture Initiative that started under his leadership.

Thank you all for your attention.

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KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY THE MANAGING DIRECTOR, EKIMIKS NIGERIA LIMITED

Mr Tope Ekiyor Miriki
Mr Tope Ekiyor Miriki, Managing Director of Ekimiks Nigeria Limited delivering a keynote address

 

Good Morning distinguished ladies and Gentlemen. All protocols duly observed please.

We welcome you all to this Business Training Workshop jointly organised by Ekimiks and IITA. For us in Ekimiks, it is a great honour to be associated with the IITA Young Agripreneurs (IYA) initiative.

We are aware of the frightening statistics on youth unemployment in Nigeria and Africa at large, the IYA initiative is one of many solutions that would help to reduce this menace. The IYA is collaborating with other initiatives including the recently launched Youth Employment in Agriculture Program (YEAP) to ensure that the youth are given the necessary opportunities to exit the unemployment queues and excel as Business Owners.

The newly coined term “Agripreneur” we all know, is a combination of 2 words – Agriculture and Entrepreneur. It implies that those fit this description have the required competencies in both Production and Entrepreneurship.

We trust that IITA with its vast array of Agricultural Scientists and Experts has been able to train the IYA members in the best Agricultural Practices. However to be a true Agripreneur, each one must have the essential Business Management skills that would enable them not only to survive but to thrive and excel as Entrepreneurs. We know that all business is tough – business survival ratio is less than 50%, but Agriculture is even tougher than others. Therefore, it is vital that our Youth Agripreneurs are adequately prepared so they would excel – not only in the Technical aspects but in the Business aspects too; hence the need for a Business Training forum.

As a company founded by a young entrepreneur many years ago, Ekimiks chose to sponsor the Business Management training aspect of the development of the young Agripreneurs. It is our own little contribution to the efforts of IITA and the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina in ensuring that young Nigerians and Africans are effectively equipped for 21st century living.

The objective of this workshop is to bring high grade Business Management education like those obtained in the best Business Schools to our young Agripreneurs. The curriculum has been carefully designed and it covers all major areas that an Entrepreneur needs to develop the necessary proficiencies.

I therefore, urge all the participants to take full advantage of the workshop; pay attention, learn, write notes, ask questions, participate in discussions. Opportunities like this are not commonplace – please use it well.

We thank our invited guests for honouring our invitation. Many of them are accomplished Agripreneurs – Role Models that the young ones would do well to learn from and follow their examples.

We thank IITA for the opportunity to partner with them in this very laudabke project.

We thank the Training Consultants – LA Consult for their role in designing and facilitating this program. We trust that they would deliver the quality education that they are reputed for.

Thank you all and do have a great program.