IITA - International Institute of Tropical Agriculture

01/13/2022 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/13/2022 16:35

STEP Agri-Competition: IITA encourages participation of younger generation in agriculture

To attract, retain, and change the perception of young people about agriculture, the Start Them Early Program (STEP), under the Oyo State Government, organized the 2021 STEP Schools Agri-Competition, the first of its kind, on 29 November. The event encouraged young people to embrace agriculture and develop career paths, including agribusiness. STEP Communication Officer Temiloluwa Adedeji moderated the event.

The Agri-competition had in attendance the STEP impacted schools: Fasola Grammar School (FGS), Bishop Philip's Academy (BPA), Iresadu High School (IHS), Methodist High School (MHS), and UMCA Secondary Grammar School. Omolade Mosadoluwa, STEP Laboratory Technician, moderated the Quiz session.

IITA Director General Nteranya Sanginga explained the importance of the STEP program and commended the secondary school students on their ability to use the modern facilities. He also stated that the competition would identify the potentials in the younger generation. Furthermore, the "food business would be the largest business in the continent, providing leadership and job opportunities for people," he added.

The Technical Advisor to the DG, Paul Woomer, gave an overview of STEP and complimented the organizers and stakeholders for the program's rapid expansion. Excitingly, he stated that "this assembly is absolute proof that Nigeria has become one."

The Coordinator of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), Chrysantus Akem, said that youth involvement is at the core of activities carried out in IITA. He explained that STEP activities had encouraged the younger generation to build their career in modern agriculture, which will benefit the continent. He further explained that these activities were done by introducing them to modern machinery, the climate-smart agricultural concept, using high-yielding seeds, and ensuring appropriate inputs.

STEP Coordinator Adedayo Adefioye stated that the agri-competition serves as a tool to build agribusiness leaders and have a sustainable livelihood. He noted that the competition cuts across six agribusiness enterprises-value addition, crop production and mechanization, poultry, information and communication technology (ICT), science, and aquaculture.

The CEO, Abisal Foods, Saidat Dauda, while sharing her agricultural experience, mentioned that the Internet, marketing, and networking are important strategies to boost the sales of the products. She further explained that partnering with other companies will increase employment and production capacities and the marketing of products. She encouraged the younger generation to utilize the agribusiness training opportunity and add value to their products.

Adedeji announced the winners across the agricultural enterprises: value addition- IHS; crop production and mechanization- MHS; poultry- IHS; ICT- UMCA; science- BPA, and aquaculture- MHS. The awardees were rewarded 'Starter tool kits' for their home agribusiness enterprises. Moreover, the youth went on a tour of IITA facilities.