Youth engagement in agribusiness, an asset for food security —NSPRI

The NIGERIAN Stored Product Research Institute (NSPRI), Ilorin, Kwara State, trained 50 selected members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) on value addition and post-harvest management of agricultural crops.

Speaking at the opening of the eighth edition of the week-long capacity building workshop for corps members in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State, recently on Wednesday, the executive director of the institute, Dr. Patricia Pessu, said youth engagement in agribusiness, as practiced in some developing countries, is a key asset in achieving sustainable food security.

The NSPRI boss, who said farming is no longer an act, but rather a business venture, added that adding value to agricultural products is a viable and trending aspect of agribusiness that creates opportunities jobs, increases farmers’ incomes, ensures plenty of food and reduces losses.

She also said the program was aimed at encouraging self-reliance, self-employment and ensuring productivity among young Nigerians, adding that the training took place in Delta, Lagos, Kano, Kwara, Rivers, Oyo and other states. Kwara State.

The institute, which promised to support corps members with an approved business proposal with start-up capital, said it is supporting three corps members with the sum of N2 million each as start-up capital after the verification of their business proposals after their year of service from Kwara and Oyo States editions.

“As in many African countries, youth employment is a critical policy issue that directly affects national food security and in Nigeria today around 40% of young people are unemployed.

“Take as an example, in the first quarter of 2021, a report published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on its website noted that the unemployment rate in Nigeria fell from 27.1% in the second quarter of 2020 to 33%. .

“As well as making it the second highest on the global list, the NBS report, going through the analysis, shows that “over 60% of Nigeria’s working age population is under the age of 34. The number of people looking for work will continue to rise as population growth continues to outpace the expansion of production.

“Nigeria is expected to be the third most populous country in the world by 2050, with over 300 million people, according to the United Nations. Current development demands youth engagement in agribusiness as it is considered practiced in some developing countries as a crucial asset in achieving sustainable food security.

“Recognizing this, the Nigerian Stored Product Research Institute (NSPRI) is becoming a trusted partner for youth corps members to build skills and improve networks for the next generation of Nigerian agricultural entrepreneurs by harnessing the potential of the agriculture post-harvest value chain.

“NSPRI, with over 60 years of post-harvest research, has developed various technologies and techniques suitable for the handling, processing and storage of different categories of agricultural products suitable for the Nigerian market and export.

“It is expected that by the end of your service year, this training will have equipped you with not only knowledge of the exciting opportunities in post-harvest handling and adding value to agricultural produce, but more importantly skills required to transport ideas into sustainable agribusinesses”.

Also speaking, NYSC State Coordinator Francisca Olaleye, represented by Deputy Program Director Orangun Adegboyega,

said the program is capable of solving the food problem in the country.

The NYSC boss, who praised the institute for the training program, said the program is capable of turning beneficiaries into labor employers, “because there are no more collar jobs white”.


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