30 Nigerian youths selected from five northern states are to be trained in the pilot phase of the Empowering African Youths (EMAY) project in Nigeria powered by Office Chérifien des Phosphates, (OCP) in partnership with the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi to boost agricultural production and food security.
The first phase beneficiaries of 30 youths are selected from Sokoto, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Niger, and the Bauchi States, having been screened based on criteria ranging from having a certificate in agriculture, experience with farmer engagement, entrepreneurship drive among others.
The program is in the quest to empower African youths by facilitating their participation in the business of agriculture by the 30 youths who are made up of 20 African youth leaders and 10 agricultural promoters to enable them to contribute to agricultural development for economic growth.
The program, Empowering African Youth (EMAY) is seeking to equip young Nigerians with capabilities to be self-employed and future agriculture-entrepreneurs as the all the participants will undergo bespoke capacity training as developed by the faculty of Agriculture of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) to enable them to function as value creators within the agriculture value chain.
The Young Leaders – as the youths participating in the EMAY project are called – will be empowered with agronomy technical know-how and agricultural tools, such as mobile digital soil laboratories for soil testing and analysis, cargo tricycles to reach rural farming communities as last-mile retailers of inputs, electronic tablets for data gathering using the digital solution, and small handheld implements to enable them to deliver value to smallholder farmers in rural communities.
While speaking at the commencement of the weeklong training held at the office of Bauchi State Agricultural Development Project (BASDP), Bauchi, OCP Head of Agronomy, Dr Donald Madukwe, said that the participants will undergo specialised training by the credible tertiary institutions of learning, so they become proficient in technical and commercial skills to be able to function as service providers and independent business owners within the Agriculture ecosystem, thereby eking out a means of livelihood for them.
He also said that after the training and handing over of the items, the Young Leaders will be supported with monthly stipends for some initial period of time to enable their businesses to take root and stabilise until they can become self-sustaining by contributing their quota in creating value to increase agriculture yields and food production for the country.
Donald Madukwe further said that part of EMAY’s objectives, aside from creating a source of livelihood for the youths in the agricultural sector, is to empower them with the required knowledge needed to be consultants/advisors which will enable them to provide Best Agricultural Practices (BAP), Agronomic and Technical training and support to smallholder farmers in rural communities.
The young leaders will be issued certificates upon completion of training by ATBU while as future plans of the EMAY project, OCP also intends to increase the numbers of the Young Leaders by additional 60 come 2021, he asserted.
He added that the participants will be equipped with sophisticated agro-tools to provide fertilizers and agrochemical recommendations based on soil analysis, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital solutions, adding that they will be given access to farm inputs from the 100 units of OCP One-stop shops currently developed across the country by OCP so that they can supply inputs to smallholder farmers in far rural communities.
While declaring the training opened, the Vice-Chancellor, ATBU, Prof Abdulaziz Mohammed in his reaction, commended OCP Africa on the initiative saying that this will help increase the participation of Nigerian youths in agriculture and food production in the country.
The VC wished the 30 Nigerian youths all the best and encourages them to be focused and attentive during the training session as knowledge gathered will determine the support and quality of value, they deliver to smallholder farmers.
Also speaking, SSA to Bauchi State Governor on Agriculture, Dr Iliyasu Gital commended OCP for organising the training saying that the country needs such in order to be self-sufficient in agriculture production and promote food security.
Created in 2016, OCP Africa, a subsidiary of OCP Group, aims to contribute to the development of integrated agricultural ecosystems in Africa working hand in hand with farmers to enhance the agricultural potential of the African continent through solutions adapted to local conditions and to the needs of soils and crops.
In partnership with a network of partners, including governments, non-profit organisations, and companies, OCP Africa works continuously to enable all the necessary conditions for the transformation of Africa agriculture to a more modern, productive and sustainable model.
OCP Africa is present in many African countries through the opening of subsidiaries and/or representative offices (Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Benin, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, and Rwanda).
OCP Africa is rapidly growing its reach in Nigeria, partnering with blending plants, farmers, distributors, and local stakeholders to foster a thriving agriculture-business ecosystem.
Our primary focus in Nigeria includes educating and enabling farmers and members of the supply chain about fertilizer needs, best practices and increasing farmers’ access to quality inputs, finance and markets.