Akinwumi Adesina’s Foundation Scales-up Partnership With IITA On Agribusiness Opportunities For African Youths

1220 views | Akanimo Sampson | February 13, 2020

The World Hunger Fighters Foundation (WHFF), a public-spirited organization that is working to ensure that youths move into the agricultural sector and become the next global billionaires through agribusiness ventures, has scaled-up its partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in a bid to achieve its goals.

IITA is, however, a non-profit institution that generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation. Working with various partners across sub-Saharan Africa, the institute improves livelihoodsenhances food and nutrition security, increases employment, and preserves natural resource integrity.

WHFF’s Chief Operating Officer, Ada Osakwe, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IITA at its Ibadan campus in Oyo State.

The purpose was to solidify a partnership, established a few months ago by the Patron of WHFF,  Dr Akinwumi Adesina, and the Director-General of IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga.

WHFF is a non-profit organisation that was set up to ensure that Africa youth are at the forefront of the fight against hunger, malnutrition, and food insecurity.

In October 2019, WHFF’s first programme—the Borlaug-Adesina Fellowship Programme, established in partnership with the World Food Prize Foundation—was showcased in Iowa, the United States during the launch of the Foundation.

The programme involves one year of exposure, capacity building, network building, and knowledge building for ten outstanding African youth. It is particularly for youth between the ages of 21 and 30 years, who are focused on being innovators or who are already innovators and focused on transforming agriculture through agricultural research and agribusiness.

“A big part of the Borlaug-Adesina Fellowship is why I am here in IITA”, Osakwe said. For three months, the youth will be placed in leading, world-class agricultural research or agribusiness institutes. “IITA has agreed to take two of our ten fellows, to give them the best training in research and agribusiness through the guidance of senior advisers, practitioners, policymakers, and the IITA Business Incubation Platform”, she added.

In the second quarter of this year, WHFF will launch the Agripreneur Fund through which the Foundation will support young agripreneurs with grants and equity participation in their businesses to ensure that the training and skills they have acquired to start their agribusinesses are supported and scaled up with appropriate funding.

More importantly, through the MoU that was signed, IITA will host WHFF offices in its Ibadan campus and through IYA, bring the Foundation closer to the young people, which they serve. In confirmation, Kenton Dashiell, Deputy Director-General, Partnerships for Delivery (DDG-P4D), mentioned that IITA would always carry WHFF along whenever the Institute organizes events that relate to the youth.

WHFF was set up by Adesina, following his receipt of the World Food Prize in 2017. Adesina, who is President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), publicly committed the prize money to set up a foundation that will support young people in agriculture. Winning the Sunhak Peace Prize, which came with another monetary award, Adesina also committed it to establish the foundation.

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