His Excellency Stuart Symington, US Ambassador to Nigeria has charged Nigerian youths and youth agripreneurs at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to work as a team to achieve the common goal of building successful business empires in the future.
He made the call when he visited them in Ibadan to get intimated about the progress made so far in the Youth-in-Agribusiness initiatives.
He expressed satisfaction and excitement about their agribusiness initiatives and IITA’s transformation agenda, stressing that in order to ensure that their agribusiness work, they must support each other always and ensure that no one is left behind.
“If you want to succeed in business, you do not only have to be good, but you have to be amazing. As future leaders, do not leave anyone behind. Support each other always because it is easier to pull hundreds and thousands of people as a team into the path of enhancing and securing the economy than doing that alone.
“One of the greatest challenges people face is that they do not know whom to trust. However, if you want to attract investors, customers, and partners, speak passionately about your product or brand, and make the interaction with your customers the most important in your life, because words translate into actions.”
The US ambassador further emphasised that the importance of setting goals is to be aware of targets and work towards achieving them even though there are risks and uncertainties involved.
“Find out what the rules are and play by the rules from the very start. Do not cheat for any reason, because if you do, you will face the consequences forever.
“Before you think of exporting your products to other parts of the world, think of marketing them to your colleagues, classmates, friends, and family. If you cannot sell in your territory it will be difficult for you to sell outside your territory,” he added.
Benjamin Williams, Political and Economic Officer from the office of the US Consulate General, who was visiting IITA for the first time, was amazed to see young and energetic youths working to make Africa a food-secure continent while expressing admiration for the work that IITA is doing especially in creating jobs for youth across Africa.
Evelyn Ohanwusi, Interim Head, IITA Youth-in-Agribusiness Office, while giving an overview and update of IITA’s youth agribusiness initiatives, especially the ENABLE-Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) programme emphasized that the programme’s target of raising $12.5 billion and investing in about 32 African countries.
She said that this can easily be achieved by having the right partners and investors who believe in the youths taking control of the future through their involvement in agriculture.
Ibukun Agbotoba, co-founder of Afribroiler Nigerian limited one of the attendees, talked about her experiences in setting up her business.
She said that Afribroiler is a youth agribusiness run by enthusiastic university graduates who were incubated in the IYA programme and supported by the company Stratadvance LP and it aims to grow a franchise network of small-scale commercial feed-to-fork broiler enterprises.
“Together with partners we plan to establish a reference-farm with feed mill, breeding, incubating/hatching, growing, processing and retail/food units for research, training, and demonstration in best-fit technologies and practices suitable for youth businesses,” she said.