Mastercard Foundation, Soilless Farm lab Train 2,000 Youths On Sustainable Agriculture

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News in brief: The Mastercard Foundation and Soilless Farm Lab have trained 2,000 Nigerian youths in sustainable agriculture to improve food production and enhance food security. The goal is training 12,000 graduate youth farmers and creating 31,200 jobs within three years.

Mastercard Foundation and Soilless Farm Lab have trained 2,000 youths on sustainable and resilient practices to improve food production and enhance food security in Nigeria.

The project, Enterprise for Youth in Agriculture (EYIA), aims to train 12,000 graduate youth farmers within three years and create 31,200 jobs directly. It is projected to cover 144 acres of land and create 240 farmers’ cooperative groups. Also, it aims to introduce 45,000 youths to hydroponics, which involves using a water-based nutrient solution instead of soil.

This project is similar to the one that Mastercard Foundation and Babban Gona, a Nigerian agric company, that aimed to create 560,000 jobs by 2022. It is open to graduates that are between 18 to 29 years old.

Samson Ogbole,  Soilless Farm lab founder, said that 1,000 students will be trained every quarter in groups of 50 on a live-in campus for 12 weeks. About 60 per cent of the second batch of trainees in 2023 were women and most of the intakes were from Lagos and Ogun States.

“The training has not only provide young people with the means to generate a stable source of income but also contribute to the sustainable development of their communities,” he explained.

Besides cultivating crops, trainees can also benefit from other technical skills like welding, fabricating, plumbing, bricklaying and electrical work. There are brand management, farm management, agronomic practices, logistics, and food handling trainings as well.

After the programme, Ogbole says that they connect trainees to the market. They also help them set up companies as a group, complete with registration, a seal, and a lawyer — who is paid for the first one year.

Obinna Onwuasoanya
Obinna Onwuasoanya
Obinna Onwuasoanya is a tech reporter of over five years, fiction writer, SEO expert and an editor. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria, and was previously shortlisted for the Writivism Short Story Prize 2018.

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