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Breaking the Barriers of Youth Unemployment in Nigeria

Twenty-four-year-old Anas Garba is like many others of his age in Nigeria – playful in demeanor, but serious about youth unemployment in his home country.

Like other unemployed graduates, Garba engages in farming activities to support his parents and younger siblings. Although he received a degree in economics from the Jigawa State College of Education in 2015, employment opportunities have been difficult to come by.

In May 2017, an agricultural extension agent introduced Garba to the Feed the Future Nigeria Agro-Inputs Project. Representatives of the project identified Garba as an enterprising youth during a field visit to his community. Since then, they have worked closely with him to help him achieve his potential through agro-input dealership training. Garba was an eager learner. “Increasing awareness of modern farming technologies will begood for local farmers, my business and the community as a whole,” he said.

With Feed the Future’s support, Garba received training on products that boost crop yields and on business management techniques. He also participated in farm field days, where he connected with 90 farmers in his community to build his customer base.

Recently, Garba partnered with Albarka Agro-Allied and Chemical Ltd., a certified agro-inputs distributor, to purchase 100 10-kilogram bags of cost-effective nutrient fertilizer. Garba also trained farmers on placement technology to increase agricultural productivity by ensuring fertilizer is placed close to the root to optimize uptake and prevent it from washing away.

As Garba’s business has grown, he has applied what he learned from his agro-dealership trainings. Village head Alhaji Sadiku Abdul was inspired by Garba’s passion to be a role model to other youth and to help farmers in his community, so he gave Garba a store on the roadside. This location made Garba easily accessible to nearby farmers and further increased his customer base.

But Garba doesn’t juststay in his store – he knows his customers are busy on their farms, so once he identifies farmers who may need his help, he visits their fields to assess their needs and provides advice on how to maximize productivity.

When Garba first looked into agriculture as a way to make a living, he wanted to support his family. But as the only agro-inputs dealer in his community, he has found that he also makes a difference in the lives of many farmers. “Though some farmers were aware of the benefits of fertilizer, it was not available in my community,” Garba said. “For those who knew where it was sold, they had to travel long distances to buy before I started my business.”

As Garba looks to the future, he intends to expand into selling soil and crop-specific fertilizer blends. “In venturing into these areas, I will be able to engage youth like myself and continue to educate farmers,” he said. “And as farmers’ extension needs are met, youth in the community will make money through provision of private extension services and I will be able to make more sales.”

And these changes, Garba said, reflect his belief that agricultural entrepreneurship can change lives.

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