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Advancing the future of Agriculture in Africa -1

IITA Youth Agripreneurs, the future of Agriculture? 1

Established by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) is an exciting youth-in-agribusiness initiative. Bringing young graduates from diverse backgrounds together as a group, the initiative encourages young people to embrace the business angle of agriculture and harness the potential of e-agriculture in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.

It is one of the enterprising approaches designed one, to reorient the youth towards productive and profitable engagement in agriculture and two, to encourage and facilitate the use of ICTs in agriculture. Sustainable agriculture in Africa demands the active involvement of the youth. But the perception has always been that farming is a domain for old people. A new generation of farmers will apply tech innovation to various aspects of the agriculture value chain. Initiatives such as IYA are therefore avenues to build the capacity of young people in sustainable agronomic practices, and bring attention to ICT and other entrepreneurship opportunities in agriculture.

A Focus on Youth
IYA builds youth capacity by conducting agribusiness incubations and offering training and mentoring to young people. As a result promising collective enterprises have been created. In stimulating the engagement of youth in agribusinesses, the group connects with rural communities who benefit through employment, out-grower opportunities and income generation.

The IYA ICT unit established its own business system which facilitates the adoption of modern farming methods by farmers. This unit has helped to enhance agriculture outcomes by making use of ICT tools, like drones. Drone delivery services adopt the use of drones to capture aerial pictures, produce video documentation of field activities, monitor crop performance, and perform other research-related functions.

Innovative Practice and Activities
According to reports, IYA trains young agripreneurs in Nigeria on the use of a ‘smart tractor’ - a powerful machine that serves farmers throughout the farm production cycle. Fitted with a GPS antenna, local SIM card, hard drive and telematics capabilities, the Smart Tractor is able to connect to the powerful cloud software of Hello Tractor, even in rural environments with low connectivity. IYA earns income through the provision of support services and the delivery of training to entrepreneurs, farmer organisations, and individual farmers.

Jide Awe
Founder, Jidaw

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