The African Development Bank and the Federal Government of Nigeria are planning a long-term solution to youth unemployment in the country with a $300m investment in the Enable Youth Empowerment Agribusiness Programme.
The project, which is to be implemented in partnership within 18 months, is expected to create 250,000 jobs across the 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
AfDB Director of Agriculture and Agroindustry, Dr. Chudi Ojukwu, who made the disclosure in a meeting with ministry officials in Abuja, said that beneficiaries of the initiative would be trained at various incubation centres on all aspects of agribusiness value chains, with each beneficiary supported with about US $75,000.
Ojukwu said that the three-year project would enable training and funding of young graduates who were interested in farming across the country.
“A total of US $300 million would be accessed to cover the three year project which would bring young graduates together and train them for 18 months as entrepreneur farmers,” he said.
The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh disclosed that the project would commence from the three Federal Universities of Agriculture in the country.
“The initiative would cover all states including the FCT, while the Agricultural Transformation Agenda would be expanded through the processing zones,” he added.
Ogbeh stressed the need for the three Universities of Agriculture in Umudike, Makurdi and Abeokuta to revert to the provisions of the Act that established them.
He stated that the strength of a nation lies in the population of the youth and expressed concern about the level of youth unemployment in the country.
He promised to collaborate with representatives of AfDB and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, who came to present him the concept note on the Youth Agriculture Scheme.