By Ayo Ibrahim
Four Corps Members on Thursday emerged the overall winners of farmers for the Future Grant Competition towards boosting agric-business value chain among Nigerian youths.
The winners, who went away with a total sum of Six Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira cash prizes were among the ten finalists earlier selected out of over 20,000 entrants for the competition.
Mrs. Adenike Adeyemi,Director, Press and Public Relations in a statement said the overall winner, Chiamaka Mary Ikechukwu, promoter of NuceoAgro Services, went with three million naira, while Augustine Nwafor, promoter of Custonus Automative who emerged second position bagged the sum of Two Million Naira and Juwon Ibitomi, One Million Naira as third place cash prize winner.
Also, John Eduga, who emerged fourth position won the Special Award category with the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Naira, sponsored by Mr Steve Okeleji; one of the five Judges during the competition.
The keenly contested grand finale showcased the skills of young agro-entrepreneurs in the ground-breaking initiative of NYSC/BATNF partnership.
The competition essentially aims at promoting agro-entrepreneurial training, where Corps Members who emerge victorious from the competitive process, undergo training and mentoring in big farm establishments, before being empowered with money, land, agricultural inputs and services.
According to the Executive Director, British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF), Ms Abimbola Okoya, the exercise is expected to encourage self-employment through agro-allied ventures.
She said BATNF has contributed immensely to Nigeria’s sustainable development agenda, especially in the areas of poverty reduction and improvement in the quality of life of Nigerians living in the rural areas.
Okoya stated that as an ex-Corps Member of the NYSC Scheme, the Corps had prepared her adequately for the role she is playing today in the Foundation.
“I want to thank NYSC for always supporting the youths to translate ideas into money because agriculture is the key and it’s very stable”, she said.
In his keynote address at the virtual Pitch Ceremony, NYSC Director-General, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim acknowledged the relevance of the initiative by BATNF which inspires youth productivity and self employment through agriculture.
He added that it would also ensure food security, create wealth and develop the economy.
“BATNF has etched it’s footprints in the annals of Nigeria’s history as one of the best in youth engagement and development. NYSC is exceedingly happy to collaborate with the BATNF in this ground-breaking initiative”, the DG said.
Speaking further, Ibrahim urged the prize winners to utilize the experiences garnered from the competition to provide good entrepreneurial leadership for their colleagues and participants in subsequent editions of the competition.
He said, “You should remain good ambassadors of the NYSC, you are the leaders of tomorrow and tomorrow begins now for all of you”.
The Director-General also pledged the commitment of the NYSC to collaborate and nurture the initiative to optimal growth and sustainability.