All is now set for the first agric reality show in Nigeria, with the unveiling of the 20 contestants to feature in the programme.
This show is being organized by the Corporate Farmers International Limited (CFIL) and International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in partnership with Tony Elumelu Foundation.
Speaking at the “Meet-the-contestants’’ programme, Mr Akin Alabi, a Co-Founder of CFIL, said that the TV reality show, which would begin sometime in September, was aimed at addressing perception problems facing agribusiness in Africa.
He said that the show would adequately showcase the agricultural potential of young Nigerians to the Federal Government, as it was striving to promote economic growth and diversification.
“This show will showcase the talents of Nigerian youths to the government in terms of agricultural potential, as it works to diversify the economy. We decided to partner with Tony Elumelu Foundation because we want to create a standard with entrepreneurs in the agribusiness sector so as to push youths to believe that they can develop the African economy. Youths need to see themselves as economic developers through agriculture; that is why we have involved institutions that appreciate investments in agriculture. The programme will run for four weeks at IITA premises in Ibadan and the contestants will be engaged in several activities and training,’’ he said.
Alabi said that the project would be expanded to cover other countries in Africa, Asia and other regions.
“We are not just stopping here because it is not a one-step thing; we are looking at taking this project to other countries in Africa, Asia and other parts of the world. The good thing about the show is that everyone will go home with something. The winners will not be given cash but will be empowered in any of the agricultural value chains of their interest,’’ he added.
Miss Moyo Awotile, the officer-in-charge of Alumni engagements in Tony Elumelu Foundation, told newsmen that the selection process was tough because the contestants were all top-notch candidates.
‘‘Although, the CFIL had to go through the selection criteria to ensure that the best of the best were picked,’’ she said.
Mr Yukio Yamamoto, Joint Project Manager, IITA and TAIYO Industry Afric Inc., a Japan-based company, said he was excited about the partnership and wished to replicate same TV show in Japan.
According to Yamamoto, the reality TV show is a gateway to attract attention, investments and youths to agriculture in Nigeria and Africa in general.
“We are excited to be part of this and we want to highlight that Japan has the same challenge of young persons who are not interested in agriculture. We want to learn from this TV show and at the end, if possible, replicate the same model in Japan,’’ he said.
CFIL, in partnership the other organisations, will pick three or four winners from the show for overseas training.
IITA will also train all the contestants for two weeks, while every Friday during the period would be a celebrity night.
Organisers of the programme in June named artistes Yemi Blaq, Femi Branch, Ricardo Agboh, Uche Ogbodo and GT the Guitarman as ambassadors of the reality TV show.
Some of the contestants said that they looked forward to participate in the show, adding that they were also ready to learn new technologies that would facilitate efforts to develop their businesses and the economy in general.
They said that they would, in turn take, propagate the knowledge they would acquire in the show at the grassroots.