The Director-General, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, has called on governments to make use of the potential in agriculture to create wealth and jobs.
In an address delivered to stakeholders at the Oyo State Economic Summit, Sanginga said there were opportunities for the youth to start small businesses in seed production, input supply, weed control and processing, among others.
Represented Deputy Director-General for Partnerships and Capacity Development, Dr. Kenton Dashiell, the IITA boss further explained that the youth could also be farmers and use modern methods that reduce the labour required, raise yields and increase income.
Citing the example of the IITA Youth Agripreneurs model, Sanginga said 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, engaged young people from various educational disciplines through mentoring and training to transform them into agripreneurs, adding that making agriculture a business was at the core of the programme.
“This project has so far been successful and we need to scale up,” he said.
The summit attracted industrialists, including the Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Oba Otudeko; Chairman, Nigerian Economic Summit Group and Executive Chairman, Philips Consulting, Mr. Foluso Philips; and Director-General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Dr. Joseph Odumodu.
The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, in his welcome address, said the state was ready to offer 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.
Using data from the private and public sectors, the governor spoke about several opportunities that abounded in various sectors and the efforts his administration had undertaken to make Oyo State an investment destination of choice.