The sum of all grants totaled 7.2 million Naira (17,500 dollars), and were awarded after the youth successfully completed 18 months of capacity building in good agricultural practices and alternative income and livelihood activities.
The support was under the auspices of the National Initiatives for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NISCOPS) programme that Solidaridad is implementing in the Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Kogi, and Enugu states.
Each farmer will use the equivalent of 365 dollars received to engage in income-generating activities such as oil palm nurseries, livestock rearing, vegetable cultivation, among others.
The grants were presented at an event organized by Solidaridad, in partnership with Youth Training Hub-Africa, a non-governmental organization, to mark this year’s International Youth Day in Nigeria on 12 August under the theme “Transforming Food System: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health.”
The Hub-Africa showcased business opportunities along the agricultural value chains and explained the challenges and possible solutions within the sector. This was to enable the young farmers to effectively run agriculture as a business.
Ngozi Izuora-Songu, hub lead for Youth Training Hub-Africa, said it was commendable that Solidaridad has taken steps to create employment opportunities for the growing Nigerian youths with its agribusiness academy initiative.
Kenechukwu Onukwube, oil palm programme manager at Solidaridad in Nigeria, said the organization has an agenda to introduce the youth to agriculture early on. This, he said, will help improve oil palm productivity, improve income and protect the environment for the present and future generations.
For his part, Stephen Njar, a beneficiary of the grant, said it was a dream come true.
The programme seeks to empower more than 200 youth in good agricultural practices and alternative income and livelihood activities under its agribusiness academy initiative.
The National Initiatives for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Oil Palm Smallholders programme, which is supported by the Netherlands government and Henkel, is contributing to the attainment of self-sufficiency in palm oil production, through climate-smart agricultural practices and sustainable intensification of farms and improving smallholders’ productivity and livelihood.