The Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Dr Nteranya Sanginga has called on Governments to make use of the potential in agriculture to create wealth and jobs.
In his address delivered to stakeholders at the Oyo State Economic Summit, Dr Sanginga said there were opportunities for the youth to start small businesses in seed production, input supply, weed control, and processing, among others.
Represented by Dr Kenton Dashiell, Deputy Director General for Partnerships & Capacity Development, Dr Sanginga further explained that the youth could also be farmers and use modern methods that reduce the labor required, raise yields, and increase income.
Citing the example of the IITA Youth Agripreneurs model, Dr Sanginga said that there was the need to change the mindset of the youth.
He explained that the Youth Agripreneurs project – the first of its kind in the CGIAR—engages young people from various educational disciplines and through mentoring and training transforms them into agripreneurs. He added that making agriculture a business is at the core of the program.
“This project has so far been successful and we need to scale up,” he said.
The economic summit attracted industrialists including the Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, Oba Otudeko; the Chairman, Nigerian Economic Summit Group and Executive Chairman, Philips Consulting, Mr Foluso Philips; and the Director General of Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), Dr Joseph Odumodu.
The Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, in his welcome address said the State was ready tooffer incentives and partnership to investors willing to explore opportunities in the agricultural and industrial sectors.
He commended the partnership the State was enjoying with IITA, noting that plans were underway to train young people in agriculture.
The Governor solicited more synergies from other foreign bodies in the human and capital development of the State.
Unveiling data from the private and public sectors, the Governor spoke about several opportunities that abound in various sectors and the efforts his administration had undertaken to make Oyo an investment destination of choice.
His list of opportunities included infrastructural development, urban renewal, peace and security, training and retraining of civil servants and political appointees, and accountability.
Governor Ajimobi called on investors and private sector players to avail themselves of the opportunities. He listed as part of the attraction the large market in Oyo State, the huge working population, peace and security, proximity to Lagos, and good governance.