The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), through a new initiative known as the Start Them Early Program (STEP), is introducing agrobusiness training in secondary schools in Oyo State.
To promote interest in agriculture and learning among the secondary-school aged children, IITA has launched a modern agribusiness training facility at Fasola Grammar School in Fasola community, Oyo State, on 15 July 2020. His Excellency, Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde inaugurated the program and the training facility.
The STEP initiative was established in 2018 to advance agribusiness development to secondary schools in Africa. The program aims to expose young people in secondary schools to viable opportunities in agribusiness at an early stage. This is expected to help direct their aspirations towards careers in modern agriculture and as a result, breed new African agribusiness leaders.
The idea for STEP came out of IITA’s efforts to ‘catch them young’ and change young people’s mindset about agriculture.
IITA has realized that young people at this age—between 11 and 18—are at a critical stage in life when they decide on livelihood paths. Hence, the need to expose them to viable and sustainable opportunities inherent in agriculture, while building their capacity to harness them well.