Four members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) benefited from a N16.5 million grant and technical assistance for emerging winners at the British-American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF)’s Farmers for the Future Grant competition in Lagos.
Victoria Emmanuel, the Chief Executive of Sokvikia Enterprises, a catfish processing firm in Kogi State, was named the overall winner and received a prize of N3 million.
The Chief Executive of FarmCAS, Chidinma Ezeh, an agricultural human resources service organization, got the first runner-up prize of N2 million, while Paul Ugorji of Swift Fish Farm received N1 million for finishing third.
The winners were chosen from among the six finalists chosen from over 20,000 people who enrolled for the BATN Foundation’s contest
The F4F grant is an agricultural entrepreneurship program that provides equity-free money and other resources to young NYSC members who own and operate viable agribusinesses.
Through a rigorous Bootcamp led by subject matter experts, the Grant provides access to technical training. It also gives them access to mentorship from well-known agripreneurs in their fields of interest, as well as funding to expand their agriculture business.
The outgoing Director-General of NYSC, Brig-General Shuaibu Ibrahim, who was represented by the Director, Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Department (SAED), Alhaja Walida Isa Saddique, expressed gratitude to the management of BATN Foundation for initiating the program through which corps members are empowered with start-up capital and technical support to establish and scale their agribusinesses in his opening address.
He stated that the training and technical assistance received are in line with the NYSC’s goals, which include instilling a sense of self-reliance in young people and encouraging them to contribute their fair share to socioeconomic development.
He praised the program’s impact since its beginning, citing the huge impact made by previous winners who have successfully created their agribusinesses and are contributing to Nigeria’s economic development while also providing jobs for other young people.
Oludare Odusanya, the Acting General Manager of the BATN Foundation, expressed his gratitude to the Bootcamp facilitators and judges for taking the time to help prepare and select the most deserving Agripreneur, while also reiterating the Foundation’s commitment to continuing to support young people involved in agriculture.
Since its inception, the Foundation has established over 200 community development projects in 36 states and the District of Columbia, encouraging smallholder farmers to adopt modern agricultural practices and providing the financial assistance they need to transition from subsistence to commercial farming.