Meet the woman who founded her own field school to empower young agricultural entrepreneurs
Yinka Adesola is committed to solving Nigeria’s food security issues by empowering the next generation with the tools and knowledge to grow and sell more food. Every three months, trainees from all around Nigeria come to her field school, the Entrepreneur Youth Multipurpose Cooperative, to learn vegetable production and farm management.
Adesola realized early in her career that if Nigeria were to feed itself and meet the needs of its domestic market, farm yields would need to be boosted. And with the aging producer population, she knew that young people held the key to unlocking Nigeria’s agricultural potential.
Through attending trainings sponsored by IFDC’s 2SCALE project, Adesola learned how to increase farm productivity with good agricultural practices and integrated soil fertility management. She was also taught business management strategies such as in marketing and selling crops. In addition, the project linked her with East-West Seed, a company that breeds and produces high-quality vegetable seeds for tropical conditions.
When she returned from the trainings, Adesola recognized that she could not keep her new knowledge to herself if she wanted to make a difference: “I wanted to hold other trainings to attract more youth to agriculture, to show that agriculture is a lucrative business.” Thus, she founded her own field school.
Many of Yinka Adesola’s trainees have already graduated from university, seeing that agriculture can often be very lucrative. In addition, Adesola admonishes youth of the necessity to “get your hands dirty,” but emphasizes that “farming is a lucrative business if you know your market, and if you can meet its requirement in volume and quality.”
“I found myself on the farm because […] I found agriculture to be fabulous. I’ve found the most important thing to combat in my country is hunger…by learning to feed ourselves, we may be able to satisfy our domestic market. (…) The future is bright for agriculture, [but] what the youth need are facilities to produce in.”
In her view, training farms like her own are filling the gap for information sharing, but opportunities exist for improved financing for young agricultural entrepreneurs. “What we are doing here is on a very small scale,” Adesola admits, but involving, training, and empowering youth “is a way out of our food crisis.”
IFDC’s 2SCALE project develops and supports agribusiness clusters that link farmers to buyers, technical support providers, banks and other partners, helping them to access profitable markets for their crops. Read more about this project here.