“With the $100,000 African Food Prize (AFP) money, IITA Director – General, Dr Nteranya Sanginga , is carrying out an intervention program, using a unique approach that would redirect primary and secondary schools and their students to agribusiness skills.”
The intervention scheme, ‘Start Them Early Program, STEP, ‘ is designed by IITA to operate in DR Congo, Kenya, and Nigeria for over two years and in nine secondary schools.
STEP aims to (1) provide primary and secondary schools with agricultural inputs, and (2) train and empower students to change their mindset towards agriculture as a business and as an opportunity for job creation.
It partnered with a local organization of young people called NEWDAY Afrika to expand an already existing initiative and has been introduced in three secondary schools in Bukavu, DRC.
Currently, over 800 students have been reached in DR Congo.
Thirty-three, pupil-initiated agribusinesses are thriving; some are involved in rabbit farming, guinea pig production, poultry, and vegetable production.
School managers are also involved in agricultural production especially in poultry and rabbit rearing to improve school incomes and pupils’ practical knowledge.
All DRC students involved in the project succeeded in their national examination with two girls among them scoring the best results, 88% and 84%. Most of them are committed to continue in agriculture at university level.
He initiated the process in Nigeria when he visited the students of IITA International School to share his strong passion for agriculture and his experiences on how he developed his career in the agriculture sector.
The students have also undergone a series of agribusiness training by the STEP team set up to commence activities on the program.
The curiosity of the students to learn more about agribusiness continues to grow day by day. The team is also working closely with the IITA Women’s Group to engage more students in Ibadan, Oyo State, in the program.
Since the program commenced in Nigeria, the STEP team has reached out to more than 100 students from three schools to educate them about the benefits of modern agriculture and different viable opportunities along its value chain.
Source : iita.org