Tag Archives: Agriculture

Young people vouch for agriculture to fight joblessness

Members of the Tanzania Youth Agripreneurs pose for a group photo as they prepare to plant vegetables in their greenhouse

8 August was  United Nation’s Youth day to create awareness on the importance of  engaging youth politically, economically and socially which is  essential for the achievement of  sustainable human development.  We speak to a few of the young people engaged in Agriculture at IITA to hear their  experiences and views on how to engage young people in agriculture and research.

Veronica Kebwe, chairlady of the TYA

“TYA members are now well equipped with agribusiness entrepreneurship skills. Currently we are producing/processing high quality cassava flour, soy milk/yoghurt, making various food products from cassava, growing tomatoes and providing weed management service through safe use of herbicides.

IITA support to Tanzania Youth

IITA is currently running a program to empower youth to use agriculture as a tool to tackle youth unemployment across sub-Saharan Africa through training and by supporting them to carry out various agribusinesses. The program, IITA Youth Agripreneurs, was launched in 2012 at IITA Headquarters in Ibadan, Nigeria. In Tanzania, the program started in January 2014 at IITA’s Eastern Africa hub in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and is supervised by Adebayo Abass, IITA’s Value Addition Specialist at the hub.

The group is currently engaged in processing soymilk, high quality cassava flour with the brand name Mpishi Mkuu, selling maize, and growing tomatoes. The group is also benefiting in participating in youth programs across the world, and members are exposed and linked with potential development actors within and outside the country.

IITA is also constructing a training center at a cost of US$1.5 million at Kwembe (about 25 km from Dar es Salaam City center) to equip the youth with skills in production and processing and running successful agribusinesses.

Get full article from IITA Blogs

SLU students visit IITA Youth Agripreneurs (#IYA_SLU)


Following the visit of a representative of IITA Youth Agripreneurs, Olaide Jinadu to Swedish University of Agriculture (SLU) Sweden in May 2015, to initiate a potential collaborative process between the organisation and the institution, the students of Agricultural and Rural Management of the institution are set to pay an exchange visit to IYA in August.

The scheduled visit to IITA, Nigeria which is from August 18 – 25, 2015 is to foster possible collaboration between SLU and IYA. During the visit, the students will interact with the IITA Youth Agripreneurs in Ibadan and also visit some farms and other agriculture institutions in the south west zone of Nigeria.


For further reading:

Young Agripreneurs in Africa seeks cooperation with SLU students

IITA Youth Agripreneurs’ blog

CEO Durante Fish Industry, Chief Ogie Alakija and Management Visit IITA Youth Agripreneurs

DSC_9241 (Copy)
DG IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga (9th from left), Chief Ogie Alakija (10th from left), Management staff of Durante Fish Industry, IITA Scientists and IITA Youth Agripreneurs during the visit

On Wednesday, October 22, 2014, the management of the Durante Fish industries and other distinguished guests paid a courtesy visit to the headquarters of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

IITA has been linked with the Durante Fish Industry which was responsible for the training of the IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) – that led to the formation of the group’s fishery unit – and the resultant backstopping, but is now exploring the possibility of furthering its partnership with the aquaculture giants. IITA Youth Agripreneurs had earlier reflected through the strategic workplan in January to invest in Aquaculture as a means of advancing youth employment among young people especially unemployed graduates and enhancing income.

DSC_9212 (Copy)
Bekee Barituka, one of the IITA Youth Agripreneurs delivering a keynote address

After a warm reception at the Conference Center, the visiting team made a tour to IYA’s fish ponds and some of the institute’s facilities. They expressed delight to see the progress made by the Agripreneurs in fisheries over the past couple of months. “If we have achieved this much in such a short time, then we are prepared to continue and expand this relationship,” said Chief Ogie Alakija, Chairman of Durante Fish Industries Limited.

The group has 4 active ponds stocked with over 20,000 fishes which by November would be harvested, while 9 more earthen ponds are under construction. According to Olaniyi Ajibola, the Coordinator of Fishery Unit of IYA, “we have realized that with little capital, young people can go into production and grow gradually.”

DSC_9365 (Copy)
Ibironke Ifedayo demonstrating the feeding of fishes at the pond to the guests
DSC_9684 (Copy)
DG IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga [far right] talks about the Business Incubation Platform.

From the pond, a stop was made at the field where improved varieties of various crops were showcased and their post-harvest products displayed. The tour culminated in a visit to the institute’s Business Incubation Platform (BIP) – a model approach in boosting delivery of research results for enhanced impact across Africa.

IITA Youth Agripreneurs in its major goal of reorienting youths toward more productive engagement in agriculture continue to forge alliances with the private sector as the importance of private sector partnership cannot be overemphasized in scaling out  the group’s model, while developing the capacity of the group.

Click here for more pictures

Article written by Bekee Barituka


At AGRF, stakeholders commend IITA for youth program

Pictures 1000

Stakeholders from the public and private sectors met at the African Union Commission in Addis Abba 1-4 September 2014 during the Agriculture Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) to discuss the new vision and strategies for inclusive and sustainable transformation in Agriculture. Click here to continue

IYA and OOPLYC explore partnershipPicture 3

Presidential Library Youth Center (OOPL YC) are exploring areas of partnership. The OOPL YC is committed to interventions such as youth empowerment, capacity development, and social awareness. Click here to know more

Youth Agripreneurs program is giving result”- Zoumana Bamba

Hurray! IYA is two years old! … launches new product

DR Congo pledges support to IKYA

Click here to download pdf

Few Hours to IITA Youth Agripreneurs’ 2nd Anniversary


Its exactly 1 year, 11 months, 30 days and some hours when DG, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Nteranya Sanginga initiated the group, IITA Youth Agripreneurs after an inspirational charge given to the then youths by the president of IFAD, Dr. Nwanze Kanayo.

On the 28th of August, 2012, the then youth corp members working at various units at IITA came together to form a group with common interest in Agriculture that could establish a business enterprise which would solve the pressing issue of youth unemployment. The group has since then faced several developmental challenges that gave the group opportunities to advance from being a youth group into forming a youth institution.

According to Akinyele Bankole, the Coordinator of the institution, “Thursday 28, 2014 would be a day to mark the 2nd year of the group’s existence and also a day to recap the key achievements, state of progress and the key challenges the group has faced and is likely to face in the past 12 months and the coming months respectively”. It is in this concluding 2nd year year of existence, the group started exploiting the value chains of Fishery and vegetables and has since been viable.

Additionally, Ohanwusi Evelyn, “the group has received recognition from both national and international bodies over the past 12 months and we are happy to tell the world tomorrow that indeed Agriculture is the future”.

The major goal of the group is to re-orient youth into more productive engagement in Agriculture through expanded opportunities in Agribusiness, service provision and market-oriented Agriculture in a way that offers secondary benefits to the larger communities.

Are IITA YOUTH AGRIPRENEURS really achieving their major goal?

Are they meeting up to the levels of their objectives?

Can they pin-point “anything” to encourage more youths into Agriculture?

These and many more would be revealed tomorrow August 28, 2014 when the IITA Youth Agripreneurs would celebrate the 2nd Anniversary.

IITA Youth Agripreneurs plan to train Borno youths in Agribusiness

New Poster picture

IITA Youth Agripreneurs under the N2Africa–to-Borno project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has organised a 3-week intensive training for Borno state youths which seeks to generate employment opportunities that will enable the formation of pioneer models for youth engagement in agribusiness in the state. This is in partial fulfillment of the objectives of the N2Africa phase II project which states to deliver and disseminate, sustainable input supply, and market access. The training project will pioneer models for youth engagement in Agribusiness in this part of Nigeria where job opportunities are also scarce.

Borno state is located in the north-eastern part of Nigeria and has a population of above 4 million as at the last population census accounting for approximately 3 percent of Nigeria’s total population.

Agriculture is a key sector of the state as majority of the people are farmers, herdsmen and fishermen and IITA Youth Agripreneurs have identified this as a tool to transform the livelihood of their people particularly the youths. “The training will be second of its kind in the history of IYA after the training of youths from Cross River state“, Bello Oluwatobi revealed, and the major goal is to enable youths increase their knowledge in sustainable agronomic practices and develop their entrepreneurial skills in agribusiness to promote self-dependence and inspire the replication of the IYA model.

Read full program here



Soil infertility is one of the major challenges facing Farmers across the world especially in Africa, but over the years, several methods have been developed to solve this problem.

African farmers for some time have suffered reduced income due to poor yield and most of the causes are due to soil depletion which occurs as a result of the removal and simultaneously non-replacement of components which contribute to soil fertility.

Although this problem poses threats to all levels of on-field agricultural production but it is more expressed at small scale production largely due to difficulty in monitoring the soil fertility trends. According to researches, a soil is said to be infertile when

  1. it is poor in or lacking nutrients (majorly, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; N:P:K),
  2. its organic matter necessary to improve the soil’s structure and moisture holding capacity is lost or insufficient,
  3. it is insufficient of a range of microorganisms that support plant growth and
  4. its topsoil has been removed.

There are several factors contributing to the decline in soil fertility, among which improper or insufficient soil management stands out. Others may include mono-cropping, Erosion and Soil pollution.

Fortunately, several technologies and methods have been developed to solve this problem but most of these are not quite affordable to all farmers especially in the rural communities. But recently, a naturally effective and cost-effective technique was discovered, the use of fertilizer trees.

Fertilizer trees are trees used to replenish some of the nutrients in the soil that may have been lost due to one or many of the mentioned causes, thereby contributing to the quality of the soil for farming. Fertilizer trees are leguminous plants that help to fix the atmospheric nitrogen in the soil through their roots and falling leaves. Additionally, the roots of these trees grow deep into the soil to bring to the surface, nutrients for crops unable to reach that depth.

According to Dr. Jerry Glover, International Research Advisor, Bureau for Food of the USAID in 2012, it can be used to build the organic matter of the soil without taking too much water and resources from the crops, consequently having the ultimate impact of increasing yield, improving farmers’ income and securing food. These trees can also serve the purpose of preventing fertilizer erosion and protect the crops from winds.

Dr. Jerry Glover said, “It is one of the many opportunities for farmers to integrate perennials into their farming cropping systems not at a cost of their food production but to actually increase it”.

SesbaniaGliricidia, Tephrosia, and Faidherbia albida have been identified as the common fertilizer trees that have been adding more values to to farmers, enabling optimum productivity.


Additionally, in an article “Putting trees on farms fundamental to future agricultural development“, published by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), a CGIAR Consortium Research Centre in 2011, “combining fertilizer trees with conservation farming techniques is doubling and tripling cereal crop yields in many parts of the African continent. The nitrogen-fixing tree Faidherbia  or Acacia albida, is increasing unfertilized maize yields in Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and in numerous other countries. They are now being grown on millions of hectares of crop land throughout Niger, at densities of up to 200 trees per hectare, and show a tripling of yield in the crops growing beneath them. Producing food crops like maize, sorghum, and millets under these agroforests dramatically increases their drought resilience in dry years, because of positive soil moisture regimes, and a better microclimate”.

Noted for its natural potential to increase productivity and income  coupled with its cost-effectiveness, African farmers have embraced this method for enriching their soils and many more are encouraged to do so.


IFAD President, Dr. Nwanze Kanayo (L), while addressing the IITA Youth Agripreneurs and DG IITA, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga (R)

Dr. Nwanze Kanayo, IFAD president – “Your greatest support will be your passion, conviction and drive to move forward”

After the first visit of the IFAD president, Dr. Nwanze Kanayo to the International Institute of tropical Agriculture (IITA) to consolidate the partnership of the organization and the Institute on the August, 2012, the president again visited 22 months after.

During, his first visit was a significant moment which would ever remain in the history of both IITA and the youth in Agribusiness initiative group, IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA); planting of tree to serve as a symbol of initiation of the group and repopulating the Institute.

Dr. Kanayo, during his recent visit (16-17 June, 2014) was intimated with the whole “story” of IYA, including the inception, progress and projections of the group by Ohanwusi Evelyn, while Bekee Barituka presented the cost benefit ratios of the crops the group is involved in. During one of the presentations, Dr. Nwanze Kanayo was reminded how he inspired the youth to engage productively in Agriculture, while exploiting the various opportunities that exist in the Agricultural value chains.

Dr Nwanze Kanayo while commenting after the presentations said the group is an incubator, which will incubate Nigeria’s future. He however, also emphasized on the need for the group to really become independent of its mother (IITA) as it has described itself of.

IFAD President, Dr. Nwanze Kanayo during his tour

The group then took the president, Dr. Nwanze Kanayo on tour moving from one of their work stations to another within the campus to showcase their activities for the past 22 months. Their first stop was at the macro-propagation chamber, where they carry out multiplication of plantlets under controlled environment, followed by the visit to the plantain and banana screen house. They later moved to the on-growing ponds and hatcheries unit of the newly exploited value chain of Fisheries.

Dr. Nwanze Kanayo finally congratulated the group for their success and achievements while also appreciated the DG of IITA for his strong belief in his idea and for bringing it to LIFE in his closing remarks.

In his final words, he made the Youth Agripreneurs to understand that the only elements that will give the greatest support to them while expanding and forging credible independence are PASSION, CONVICTION and THE DRIVE TO MOVE FORWARD.

Dr. Nwanze Kanayo believes that if the group sustainably grows out of the walls of IITA, it will make the quick impacts needed to drive out youth unemployment not only from Nigeria or Africa, but across the globe.

Click here for more pictures