YAP Proposal #78: Agribusiness Academy (Oluwajoba Ayo’ Okediji, Nigeria)

agribusiness_academy_webplatform

What we are taught in classrooms as students of agriculture is way different from what is happening on the field. Have you ever experienced employers requesting for a 2-3 years working experience post college/University graduation?

This is the experience of thousands of agricultural graduates that are turned out of our educational institutions on a yearly basis. It’s just a way of life for employers here in Nigeria and some other parts of Africa, especially in the agricultural sector.

Where on earth will a fresh graduate get the needed experience, if not given an opportunity?

I clocked 30 a few months ago. 3 solid decades seems dope but this is not about how I have spent the last thirty years of my life and my experience in agriculture. My family has been involved in farming from inception, I mean from when my parents tied the knot. Coming as the first son after two daughters, automatically, i was born a farmer into a “farmily“. (Farm + Family = “Farmily”) don’t you think this word should be added to the English dictionary to represent smallholder farmers? Their plight sometimes makes farming and famine synonymous.

Studying animal health and production was no accident, though my sojourn into ICT happened because of my quest for a better deal for agriculture trying to avoid its drudgeries, but it later formed my interest to further study agricultural extension and management. A course, in my opinion best combines information and communication technologies with agriculture.

Sorry, I forgot to mention that I attended a Federal College created solely by the Government of my country to raise employers of labor and not job seekers. This was echoed throughout my stay at The Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology, Moor Plantation, Ibadan Nigeria, but the reverse was the case. This is the situation of most colleges of agriculture and some Universities in my country.

From personal experience, 80% of graduates from agricultural Colleges and Universities find themselves in the job market immediately after graduation, with reasons ranging from no access to startup funds or not even having a clear direction of what to do next. Some pick up menial jobs and others strive to make ends meet.

After years of leaving college, I was happy to know that the Federal Government has introduced entrepreneurship programs into the activities of tertiary institutions and centers were established within these colleges. I paid a visit back to my Alma matter and I was excited to see the magnificent structure dedicated to the entrepreneurship program, even bigger than our administrative building or any of the lecture theaters.

However, my expectations were dammed when I saw arrays of tailoring machines and hair dressing equipment used to train and encourage students in skill acquisition. Barbering, tailoring, bead making were made top priorities…. Sad!

What could have happened to my 6 years in college that the next skill to acquire is barbering?

I felt a deep conviction that we have missed it somewhere and something urgent must be done to redefine agricultural entrepreneurship across the country and beyond. I started working on the Agribusiness Academy platform, an online and offline educational platform that will bridge the gap between the academia and the field of agriculture using information and communication technologies.

Educational technocrats from these institutions will work with agribusiness experts from the field to create courses that will promote entrepreneurship education through an innovative approach for undergraduates, young graduates, and youths involved or interested in agribusiness and also those building a career in agricultural related companies and organizations.

proposed_courses

What if an undergraduate interested in poultry farming can take and complete a course in Poultry Business Management before graduation? Won’t he/she be able to successfully run an enterprise and also employ others?

Oh, you said where will he get funds to startup? It’s covered under the course and he has been taught how to raise startup capital to start and assigned to a community of farmers that can aid his business growth. Barbering, tailoring and other skills are wonderful skills to learn, but we should allow those trained to produce our food do their job so that we won’t all go hungry.

The Agribusiness Academy web platform is ready and we are presently building the team to run the venture, but we still have a lot of grounds to cover. The $5000 will assist us to put things in the right place to launch; the venture has been designed to run by itself.

$1000 will be used towards necessary registrations and certifications.
$1700 will be used to acquire multimedia equipment to create our course contents.
$500 will handle our budget for advertorials and promotions both online and offline.
$1800 will serve as running capital and other miscellaneous.

I will gladly appreciate your questions or suggestions in the comment section. Thank you for your time.

Blogpost and picture submitted by Oluwajoba Ayo’ Okediji (Nigeria) – okedijiayo[at]gmail.com

Illustration courtesy: AgroInfoTech Africa

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.


This post is published as proposal #78 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

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519 thoughts on “YAP Proposal #78: Agribusiness Academy (Oluwajoba Ayo’ Okediji, Nigeria)

  1. Great idea, but is this really necessary when most of these students get to learn all of this in some of their long courses?

    1. Thank you Kunle. I came up with this idea after i have engaged a lot of students of agriculture, the academia, and experts on the field. The schools work with a curriculum that is not applicable on the field. There is no doubt that most of these has been taught or mentioned to students, but the challenge is; why is it difficult for students to apply it after school? There is a missing link. This is what Agribusiness Academy is solving.

    2. Thank you Kunle. I came up with this idea after i have engaged a lot of students of agriculture, the academia, and experts on the field. The schools work with a curriculum that is not applicable on the field. There is no doubt that most of these has been taught or mentioned to students, but the challenge is; why is it difficult for students to apply it after school? There is a missing link. This is what Agribusiness Academy is solving.

  2. This is a true representation and heart cry of the Nigerian graduate and/ entrepreneurs. We have good policies but not properly implemented. Let’s strive for excellence and find appropriate medium to let Government know that there is potential unexplored, especially in agriculture. Well done.

  3. Its a great idea, but is it necessary as most of these students tend to learn this things from their boring long courses in school?

    1. Lol. Classes are atimes boring and most students just read to pass Exams….. We are making the courses short, fun to learn and entrepreneurship driven.

  4. Has interesting as this may seems, do you think our present youth will venture into any training, online, offline or classroom, that will not fetch them a white collar job. Overtime, i realized most youth in the agricultural line are those that are exhausted from job hunting and using farming as a last resort.
    How do you intend to change this mindset of our youth away from job hunting to job creation despite the so many preaching going on about it.
    you realize that to start thinking of job creation, the environment and economy must encourage this.
    In view of this, i think this concept as much awesome as great as it sounds, will need a viable environment to thrive well.

    1. Thanks Damopblog.
      Youths nowadays are thrilled by new things and will want to give it a trial. We are not only preparing them for the entrepreneurial journey, we are also empowering them to be the well qualified and suited for a job immediately after school. We are not only focusing on students in schools, but those that are presently into farming as a last resort. They need a platform like Agribusiness Academy to hold them by the hand and guide them through. We may not have the best environment presently but we are creating one. Thank you for your comment, the points are valuable to us.

  5. Woowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. To understand agriculture…simply go the practical way. I love this initiative and I will love be part…just that we have to make the training course affordable for all…But it will be right to have for smallholder farmers too..Just thinking

  6. Thank you for your interest and comment John. Creating quality affordable contents is a major priority for us. Even Adamu the cattleboy in Daura village will be able to take some courses in his language, through his featured mobile telephone. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We will love to have your contributions…. Regards!

  7. Brilliant concept! How do you guarantee, that individuals who sign up for various courses get their money’s worth?

    1. Thanks OMAO, we work with the Academia and the Experts from the field to create our course contents. With their years of experience and exposure, we guarantee value.

  8. This is Amazing! exactly what we need to motivate our youths both home and abroad, Good concept! well done.

  9. Thank you, Ayo! I have always insisted that it is wrong to teach vocational skills and call it entrepreneurship education. The entrepreneurship education that our youths need is that which enables them to build successful businesses out of the courses they studied, not turning agric graduates into barbers and carpenters – wasting all they learnt in the school for so many years. Would be happy to see you bridge that gap. Teach our young people how to turn what they learn in school into viable businesses.

  10. Ok, Thanks for answering my question, its clearer now, very lovely initiative. Its gonna be of utmost usefulness and profit to both taking the course and as well the Agricultural development of the nation. Nice one

  11. Nice read…but isn’t a partnership necessary with educational institutions to further embed this concept in our educational sector?

  12. As shameful as it is that I have almost zero knowledge in anything ‘agriculture’ I must admit that not only is this write up enlightening, the passion for integration (of field experiences and classroom theories) and innovation expressed here is contagious.

    While I believe strongly that agriculture will very well soon be the savior of our economy, I feel that the youths are not getting the level of sensitization needed to propel them towards this phenomenon. (Myself for example)

    This ‘project’ without a doubt holds more than a few benefits for students/participants seeing that they’ll ultimately become employers of labor. I bet you that I would sign up for this if it were immediately available.

    Pardon me to digress…

    What I would really love is a louder and wider outreach about it. If possible, get it to be included as a mildly compulsory annual (holiday) workshop session for secondary school students. Maybe even award them a certificate of continuous participation upon their high school graduation. The zeel to explore this sector should start as early as jss3.

    If these sect are conditioned to see agribusiness as noble as being a doctor or pilot… Endless is the possibilities.

    Looking to get more updates on this endeavor!! Cheers to more game changing ideas!

  13. Please don’t forget the courses you intend to run cannot run globally because what will work for region may vary slightly or greatly. how do you want to accommodate this variance

  14. A great thing to consider here is finance. even before the breakeven point how do you intend to run this capital intensive programme except you are one Davido with a rich father

    1. Yes, its capital intensive, but our skills have covered some major areas. We keep seeking for new opportunities like what this program is offering to further scale up. But this will not stop us from starting and getting revenue as we grow. Thanks.

  15. A well thought out plan both for the students and smallholder farmer but put into consideration the smallholder farmers who don’t understand anything other than their mother tongue and would love to be a part of this

  16. A well thought out plan both for the students and smallholder farmer but put into consideration the smallholder farmers who don’t understand anything other than their mother tongue and would love to be a part of this

    1. The platform is designed to meet them half-way. We want to make contents available in their local tongue. Thank you.

      You asked the same question as Charles Anazi, seems you copy his question. Please can you check this and asked yours if any? Thanks

  17. This is explicit enough to know what it is all about. if this is presidential manifesto, then you have my total vote for you and the plan

  18. We should have something like this not just for the student but for the lecturers to keep themselves updated

  19. Not a New innovation though but i think it is spanking new when it comes to agriculture. Enlighten me please

  20. i don’t think this will work in Nigeria. The Pratical school is simply working because of the need to get certificate for white collar job. if this is to be an enterprneur, why not just got to an established farmer and go learn onsite for about three months and get the necessary trainings

  21. Having participated in some international online training and discovered their fees to be pocket breaking despite the claim of discount due to cost of maintenance et all. how do you intend to make this as affordable as possible if you will also be incuring such maintenance cost as well

    1. We consider adding value first before making profit. So adding value drives what we do. Our charges will not be neck breaking as we seek to create standard contents and make them available at affordable rates.

  22. splendid idea. coupled with your responses to differents comment, it is obvious you are sure of your onus

  23. Sir, If you want to setup a privately owned university of Agriculture please do and stop bamboozing us with a theory that is nothing new to the same training being received from the four walls of school. please give us something new to read

  24. will love to see this kick off as soon as possible as this is an aching need for our agricultural development

  25. Am sure this scheme is already available in foreign countries, how do you intend to edge yours above theirs to make it more appreciated. Better put, how do you convince me to subscribe to yours rather than an established agric online school in a foreign country

    1. Yes, you are right. Some well developed countries have existing platforms like this, but their contents and approach is also accustomed to them. You will agree with me that what works over there may not work here, hence the need to have a platform also for Africa bridging the Gap between the Academia and the Field. If you want something that will work for you in this environment, we welcome you on board. Thanks

  26. impressive and achievable if it is been encouraged and not fustrated with some saddist(permit me please)

  27. Nigeria just lost a minister of Labour. This ia perfect replacment with the interest of the masses at heart to give them worth for their struggle

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