The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the American University of Nigeria (AUN) to tackle food insecurity and poor education and encourage Agri-prenuership among farmers and youths in order to mitigate poverty in the North East.
AUN President, Dr Margee Ensign, alongside Deputy Director-General IITA, Dr Ken Dashiell, disclosed this during the signing of the MOU held at the E-Library of the AUN in Yola.
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Margee said the initiative was to strengthen the economic resilience of 1,900 youths, aged between 17 and 25, through self-employment and market-driven vocational and agricultural livelihood development opportunities.
She said: “Every year in Nigeria, malnutrition contributes to more than 33% of the deaths of children below 5 years, and these deaths mostly occur in the northern geopolitical zones where nearly 50% of all children below 5 years are stunted. For those of you who don’t understand what that means, I quote from an article on malnutrition”
She said the partnership would enhance farmers’ training, provide the right seeds and inputs, including finance, to increase agricultural yields and improve education for women and children.
In his remarks, Ken said the IITA had initiated a youth agri-preneur programme to create jobs by making agriculture and agribusiness appealing to the youth.