Special "Work and Learn" program trainees get immediate employment and business loans.

The increasing effort of effectively integrating youth into the economic mainstream across Africa is an alarming problem with negative social, psychological, environmental, and political implications in urban and rural areas. While many youths are committed to acquiring the best education possible, a significant number of them find it difficult to get employment and as a result develop a negative mentality due to the disappointment of having their hopes dashed.

In addressing these challenges, as well as realizing IFAD’s vision of empowering African youth through the establishment of a network of youth-centered agribusiness hubs in Nigeria under the IITA led IFAD Agrihub Project, a two-level programme that will bring about change and integrate agricultural production and processing has been initiated.

The Work and Learn programme, is aimed at first imparting skills to unemployed youth, and then followed by equipping and supporting young agribusiness entrepreneurs, in partnership with Soilless Farm Lab, Abeokuta.

After 3 months of experiential learning which exposed beneficiaries to the business environment around the vegetable and aquaculture value chain. Twenty-one beneficiaries of the Rural Youth Employment Opportunities: Support to Integrated Agribusiness Hubs in Nigeria (IFAD Agrihub Nigeria Project), have obtained immediate employment as farm managers and  supervisors at the Soilless Farm Lab, and other farms, while seven other beneficiaries on the path to entrepreneurship have registered their businesses, and have access to loan valued at 5 million naira.

IFAD Agrihub Nigeria has a mandate to upskill 3410 youths, who will find employment or create direct and indirect jobs through agribusinesses. Using a multi-partner and multi-location approach, the project aims to provide capacity building, advisory services, and linkages to jobs and markets for Nigerian youth. Applications for the 2nd cohort of the Special Work and Learn Programme are now open at http://agrihub.youthagripreneurs.org/apply/