By Chinyere Anyanwu
Four National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members have benefited from a total grant sum of N16.5 million in cash and technical support for emerging winners at the Farmers for the Future Grant competition organised by the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) on May 17, 2022.
The CEO of Sokvikia Enterprises, Victoria Emmanuel, a catfish processing firm located in Kogi State, emerged the overall winner and was awarded the prize of N3 million. The first runner-up prize of N2 million was awarded to Chidinma Ezeh, the CEO of FarmCAS, an agricultural human resources service organisation, while Paul Ugorji of Swift Fish Farm received the sum of N1 million for finishing third.
The winners were among the six finalists earlier selected from over 20,000 participants who registered for the competition sponsored by the BATN Foundation.
The Farmers for the Future (F4F) Grant is an agricultural entrepreneurship grant designed to support young NYSC members who run viable agribusiness, with equity-free capital and other associated support they may require to upscale their businesses. The grant provides access to technical training through a rigorous bootcamp facilitated by subject matter experts. It also provides them access to mentorship with renowned agripreneurs in their areas of interest, and finally, access to finance to upscale their agriculture enterprise.
In his opening address, 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 his profound appreciation to the management of BATN Foundation for initiating the programme through which corps members are empowered with start-up capital and technical support to establish and scale their chosen agribusinesses.
He noted that the training and technical support received are in tandem with the objectives of the NYSC, which is to build the spirit of self-reliance in the Nigerian youth and encourage them to contribute their quota to the socio-economic development of the country.
He commended the impact the programme has made since its inception, making reference to the enormous impact made by earlier winners who have successfully established their agribusinesses and are contributing towards the economic development of Nigeria as well as creating jobs for other youths.
In his vote of thanks, the Ag. General Manager of BATN Foundation, Oludare Odusanya, expressed his gratitude to the bootcamp facilitators and judges for taking out time to help prepare and select the most deserving agripreneur, while also reiterating the foundation’s commitment to ensuring continuous support of young people participating in agriculture.