With the Nigerian population expected to reach 230 million by 2025, food security is of considerable importance. Today, the demand for food appears to be outstripping supply as a result of reduced productivity combined with post-harvest waste. To reverse this trend, we need innovative solutions to modernize our farming methods. We must look beyond the farmgate and harvest towards food transformation and preservation. This is where entrepreneurs in the agriculture space, also referred to as agripreneurs, come in.Nigeria is a country with one of the youngest populations, with a median age of 18 years and about 70% of the population under 30 (National Population Commission), yet the average age of farmers today is 50 years. This is evidently a gap we must fill to ensure we not only feed the present generation, but we secure the future. To achieve this, we must build sustainable food systems by attracting and building active youth participation in the agricultural sector.
GOLDEN MORN, one of Nestlé Nigeria’s leading brands, has therefore, created an Agripreneurship Webinar Series in collaboration with the Enterprise Development Center of the Pan Atlantic University to promote sustainable food systems by increasing youth participation in the sector. The program provides support for young entrepreneurs already engaged in or set to start up businesses in the agricultural sector through trainings, funding, mentoring and networking opportunities. Over 200 young agripreneurs have benefited in the 4 series of the webinar so far.
In his comments at the event to present grants to the nine beneficiaries from the third and fourth sessions of GOLDEN MORN Agripreneurship Webinar series, the MD/CEO Nestlé Nigeria PLC, Wassim Elhusseini, said, “I am excited at yet another opportunity to celebrate the next generation of farmers who will continue to feed our rapidly growing population, the entrepreneurs and innovators of tomorrow. Your passion validates the strategic importance of GOLDEN MORN’s investment to provide support, opportunities and platforms to enable you create or scale your businesses and improve livelihoods within the agricultural value chain.” “I encourage you, to take advantage of the grants you will receive today, to leverage the mentorship and the networks that you have formed, to make a significant impact by creating jobs for the teeming Nigerian youths,” he added.
Also speaking during the presentation, Obianuju Okafor, Project & Finance Manager of the Enterprise Development Center (EDC), Pan Atlantic University said, “Entrepreneurship is a critical pathway to improving the economy and upscaling the Agricultural value chain. We are delighted that our continued collaboration with Nestlé GOLDEN MORN on the Agripreneurship Webinar Series continues to provide excellent opportunities for young agripreneurs to be trained on creating and running sustainable business models, to enable them increase their business productivity, ultimately impacting positively on the economy of the nation”.
Responding on behalf of all the beneficiaries, Joshua Bitrus of Agrigain Locura Ventures, Kaduna, said, “I am delighted to be a recipient of the GOLDEN MORN Agripreneurship Webinar Series grant. The grant will definitely go a long way towards actualizing business expansion, not only for myself but also for my fellow recipients. I call on other young people to take advantage of the opportunities provided by companies such as Nestlé Nigeria.” GOLDEN MORN is an iconic brand from the stable of Nestlé, the Good Food, Good Life company, committed to unlocking the power of food to enhance quality of life for everyone today and for generations to come.
The Webinar series exposes young agripreneurs to relevant trainings on different aspects of the agricultural value chain, with focus on grains. Post training, beneficiaries are supported with seedling and mentorship to enable them thrive in their businesses. The fifth series of the program is scheduled for October 2022. The webinar is open to all budding or existing agric-based entrepreneurs aged 18 to 35 years.