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The Work, Earn, Learn, Programme (WELP) for developing entrepreneurship in organic agriculture among graduates in Nigeria Isaac Aiyelaagbe 1, Phil Harris.

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Presentation on theme: "The Work, Earn, Learn, Programme (WELP) for developing entrepreneurship in organic agriculture among graduates in Nigeria Isaac Aiyelaagbe 1, Phil Harris."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Work, Earn, Learn, Programme (WELP) for developing entrepreneurship in organic agriculture among graduates in Nigeria Isaac Aiyelaagbe 1, Phil Harris 2 Elizabeth Trenchard 2 1. University of Agriculture PMB 2240 Abeokuta, Nigeria 2. Coventry University, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK Aiyelaagbe Jan 2011

2 Graduate unemployment Graduate unemployment accounted for 32% of the unemployed in Nigeria Dabalen et al, 2000 > 50% of graduates in Nigeria are now unemployed (or underemployed) Okonjo-Iweala 2010 Nigeria now produces > 3,000 agricultural graduates annually 75% of agricultural graduates would rather not take up agriculture related careers Aiyelaagbe Jan 2011

3 Why graduate unemployment? Poor response by Universities to changing job market demands Graduates possess skills that the job market no longer requires (obsolete ?) Graduates lack skills that the job market requires (incompetent?) Graduates lack capacity to be innovative (entrepreneurship?) Aiyelaagbe Jan 2011

4 Agriculture Contributes 33 – 42% of GDP in Nigeria High comparative advantage in agriculture could be tapped for national development by engaging unemployed agricultural graduates Globalisation offers new opportunities to optimize the potential New emerging markets such as international trade organic produce could be accessed Aiyelaagbe Jan 2011

5 Organic agriculture A unique and regulated system of producing and handling food and fibre Exploits the benefits of ecological cycles for sustainability Excludes the use of synthetic agrochemicals which could be harmful to human health and the environment now or later Promotes ethics in production and trade Aiyelaagbe Jan 2011

6 Trade in organic produce Aiyelaagbe Jan 2011

7 Barriers to access Low local awareness Paucity of local skills in production, handling, certification and trade in organic produce Up to 2008, < 6% of faculties of agriculture in Nigeria featured organic agriculture in their curricula; conventional agriculture was the focus To access the organic market, the skills gap of graduates needs to be bridged Aiyelaagbe Jan 2011

8 WELP WELP was conceived to bridge skills gap by developing entrepreneurship in organic agriculture among graduates in Nigeria Work provides hands-on experience, Earn income to sustaining participation Learn acquire new skills and attitudes to gain access to market Aiyelaagbe Jan 2011

9 Components of WELP 1.4-week, intensive graduate conversion course in organic agriculture, including enterprise skills 2.3-week internship in the private sector 3.Visits to successful organic businesses overseas - from production to consumer 4.Mentoring to develop business plans 5.Support for business start up, marketing etc Aiyelaagbe Jan 2011

10 Methodology WELP advertised Open access 70 applications received 23 applicants selected 6 partner farmers selected to host interns Successful candidates informed Course resumed in March (fully residential) Aiyelaagbe Jan 2011

11 Course content and evaluation Class room lectures based on draft curriculum Field demonstration/practice Interactive sessions Written quiz Evaluation report submitted by partner farmers Proficiency certificate awarded to all successful candidates Travel grants awarded to top 5 trainees to visit successful organic businesses Aiyelaagbe Jan 2011

12 Outputs Evaluation of draft curriculum on organic agriculture in HEIs Evaluation of WELP Linkages with farmers New small scale organic businesses initiated Increased public awareness on organic agriculture Increased demand for training Aiyelaagbe Jan 2011

13 Trainees’ preferences for post-training organic enterprise establishment Aiyelaagbe Jan 2011

14 Evaluation Participation Written quiz Evaluation report submitted by partner farmers Post training evaluation Proficiency certificate awarded to all successful candidates Travel grants awarded to top 5 trainees to visit successful organic businesses Aiyelaagbe Jan 2011

15 Future outlook Follow up WELP graduates Reconfigure curriculum of degree programme in agriculture to include entrepreneurship Design post graduate programmes Increase number of conversion courses Internationalise WELP by reaching out in the West –African sub region Aiyelaagbe Jan 2011

16 Acknowledgements UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills British Council Aiyelaagbe Jan 2011


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