By Chinyere Anyanwu
Having assisted over 110,000 smallholder farmers cumulatively cultivating over 225,000 acres of maize through its Agricultural Franchise Model, Babban Gona, West Africa’s largest maize producing entity, has reaffirmed its commitment towards reducing the alarming youth unemployment trend in Nigeria.
Babban Gona’s model addresses the rising youth unemployment in West Africa, which has led to increased violence that destabilises regional economies and threatens to accelerate a migration problem that would dwarf the current refugee crisis. Babban Gona leverages a unique technology platform to make farming more profitable to create millions of jobs for the youth, interrupting the root causes of violence, stimulating strong economic growth, and alleviating the migration of the unemployed.
In the words of Mr. Kola Masha, Babban Gona’s Managing Director, “one of the root causes of insecurity in Nigeria is unemployment of youths, especially in the rural area. We believe that the best way to disrupt this cycle of poverty and democratise wealth is to create equal opportunities for fulfilling work, particularly in the agricultural sector, for the demography who are at risk of being led astray.
“It is often believed that youths do not like farming, but this is not the case. What the youths see is that farming provides a low return on efforts, but Babban Gona has been able to demonstrate that farming is very lucrative and can improve their livelihoods.”
Masha further explained: “We use technology to help members scale and increase their yields rapidly by providing the required training and education, access to cost-effective financing, access to high quality agricultural inputs, as well as harvesting and marketing support services. In 2020 alone, we created over 82,000 jobs in agriculture with more than 50 per cent of these jobs targeted at youths and a third for women.”