I am Adesida Oluwafisayo Temitade, a Master’s degree holder in Zoology (fisheries). I currently work as a team leader in agricultural finance for a national microfinance institution in Nigeria. I am 34 years of age, and I reside in Abuja (Federal Capital Territory).
It was on a hot Tuesday in February of this year when I visited a small village called Abuja in the Kuje area of the FCT. It was the usual process of carrying out pre-disbursement training for smallholder farmers who were hoping to access agricultural credit for the next farming season.
While I was approaching the location where the training was supposed to be held, four young people walked up to me, seeking some money to enable them buy food. The expression on their faces showed hunger and desperation. I quickly obliged them their request and started questioning them.
It dawned on me that there is a need to bring this vulnerable group out of poverty. However, it cannot be by continuous provision of money to them, but by direct development of skills that they can use to make money for themselves.
During the training I took the discussion further than I usually did. I asked why there are many idle youth in the village, and the response was not encouraging. Many of them are financially excluded and vulnerable and have no money to further their education. Furthermore, many of them would prefer to be empowered by learning a skill.
The crop farming these youth practice is seasonal, and as such after they sell their products they spend all their saved funds to survive during the off season. They reserve just enough for the next farming season, meaning nothing is left over for them.
I approached the village council and informed them I would love to train their youth on aquaculture management (catfish hatchery, management and market linkage). I explained that this activity would guarantee that they have sufficient funds all year round, even during the off season.
It was agreed that each family should nominate one young person to benefit from the training. I started collecting data and information for each participant and have now contacted and paid the consultant that will be providing the training service to 30 of them. The targeted group is expected to use the skill acquired to generate year-round funds that will help sustain their families even during the off seasons for farming.
The production cycle for breeding to fingerlings is 2months, which guarantees 6 cycles within a year. Every production cycle is expected to produce a minimum of 10,000 fingerlings, which can be sold at N15 each. At this price the producer is guaranteed N150,000 every 2 months, or USD $480.
Each participant will be provided with a week-long training on how to breed African Catfish (Heterobranchus sp. or Clarias sp.) and a hands-on practical for another 2months to ensure the success of the process. Afterward they will be empowered with the relevant tools to carry out these processes individually and as a group.
The success of this project will give me opportunity to fulfill my personal longtime dream of supporting financial inclusion and growth for vulnerable young people. As an agricultural financial service provider I feel there is need to do more for this population at the base of the economic pyramid.
For the project to be successful the following has to be done:
- Candidates will be recruited and registered.
- A fishery consultant will be engaged and paid to provide the training on production and marketing.
- All tools required for the hands-on practical will be purchased.
- All participants will be provided tools after training to start up their business.
- Participants will be linked to markets after every successful production cycle.
- All successful trainees will be engaged to provide further consultancy services for youths in other vulnerable communities.
The expected outcomes for the community include financial inclusion with multiple sources of income, community development through sustainable diversification of activities and happier and less vulnerable youth.
For the project to be successful there is need to have a good source of water and a good location for a hatchery laboratory where all the beneficiaries can come in to carry out their business. After the first successful hatch and sale, they can make enough money to re-invest it into the business.
Because they are the pioneer beneficiaries they will also be given the opportunity to continue as consultants to train youths in other vulnerable communities, guaranteeing additional income.
Utilization of the funds
$2,700 is required to construct a hatchery laboratory (wooden building finished within a month), with 15 incubators and 15 grow-out ponds, aerators, solar powered heater, and brood stocks.
$200 will be required for consultancy services (training and capacity building for one week).
$60 per participant will be required to empower30 youth with the hatchery kit and brood stock ($1800 total) within 2 months.
$300 will be used for logistics and database configuration, with the first disbursement for construction, the second for training and empowerment, and the third for logistics and database configuration during an additional month.
The project is expected to run between April – August.
I believe this project will help to improve the vulnerability of the youth in this category. It will also help to diversify their source of income, reduce poverty and provide year-round subsistence for their families. It is a project that can also be replicated in other vulnerable communities.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Adesida Temitade (Abuja, Nigeria) – princ3e2003[at]yahoo.com
Illustration courtesy: Arne Hoel (World Bank)
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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