Across the different segments in the agricultural sector, an agreement was reached on the increasing need to have future leaders or professionals cut across the various aspect of the value chain. More importantly, the need to have professionals that will take charge of the growing population, the food needs and ultimately be equipped with knowledge, skills - especially in leadership, entrepreneurship and creativity, thereby, enabling them to succeed as agents of positive change in addressing global challenges in agriculture (GCHERA,2016)
Grooming leaders for agriculture
Concrete action needs to be taken to solve every challenge perceived. It is in this vein that the Green Generation Initiate, Nigeria launched the Grooming Leaders for Agriculture Program. The Program comprises of three focus areas of intervention which are mentorship (GLA Mentors), Capacity Building/Training (Youth Agri-Lead) and GLA Juniors which will provide a good opportunity for the beneficiaries of the program (GLA Volunteers) to put the training received to use. YPARD Nigeria is happy to be a partner alongside organisations like Nigerian Women in Agricultural Research and Development (NIWARD), Protect Ozone, Agribusiness Academy and host of others.
This program will afford members of YPARD in Nigeria and other youth the opportunity to be involved in a one-year mentorship program, have access to e-learning courses, and gain real-life experience working as GLA Juniors with school children thus putting both their agricultural knowledge and other skills to use.
A total of thirty volunteers have been inducted into the program. The induction which took place in Oyo and Lagos state was held on the 18th of August 2017 and the 7th of September 2017 respectively. These volunteers will be attached to mentors in their field of interest, get periodical training and access to e- resource and learning platform. In return, the volunteers will work closely with a chosen secondary school in their location where school farms will be set up and managed in collaboration with the Young Farmers Club. Volunteers in other states outside the pilot states will be given access to the e-learning courses as well as be assigned a mentor.
The induction ceremonies had a broader coverage of presentations from senior professionals and partners on key thematic issues such as sustainable agriculture, leadership, entrepreneurship and a practical session on vegetable gardening. Participants in the events lauded the initiative and shared their views on how they benefited and their plans thereof.
The experience, the training and the practical demonstration were massively rich, educating and highly robust. The initiative, has offered a lifeline to contribute my quota in a bid to instil the passion in younger students to take agribusiness seriously to bring about sufficiency and efficiency in food security. This initiative has enable me to articulate leadership characters inherent in me and to equally develop myself for further challenges beyond agriculture. The GLA initiative will go a long way to ensure that we are conscious of what we eat, which in turn will determine our state of health and the need to practice and advocate for organic farming. What is more? GLA equally teaches the smart way of agriculture unlike the traditional picture that discouraged people from going into agriculture. Indeed, Agriculture is the next big thing, it is our “swag”, let's embrace it and we will never experience malnutrition if we practise it. - Olaniyi Adulwaheed Wale, 27 years old.
The experience at the Grooming Leaders for Agriculture (GLA) was wonderful and overwhelming. In times like this when the world is in dire need of sustainable agriculture impacts, practical training obtained on organic farming, environmental conservation strategies, safe agricultural practices, leadership styles and many more are unique in pushing for a successful and sustainable agriculture. The training has been of immense benefit to me and I plan to explore the trainings to help raise the next generation of young leaders for agricultural development. -Akinmuyiwa Victor, 24 years old.
In Nigeria, today, the agricultural sector is viewed as a means of not only eradicating hunger and malnutrition but equally as a means of economic growth, rural transformation and reducing unemployment. In achieving these desired results, all hands must be on deck. This includes but is not limited to ensuring that young people in agriculture- whether in research, policy, production, value addition or entrepreneurs in agriculture are equipped with the right skill set to succeed.
The GLA Program is poised to contribute to this and YPARD Nigeria is delighted to be part of this initiative.
To learn more about the GLA Program please click on this link.