Sahel extended scholars programme which it began at three Nigerian universities last year to a further five Nigerian Universities in 2019, namely, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (ABU), and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (OAU).
Sahel Consulting’s managing partner Ndidi Nwuneli said the firm partnered with the Faculties of Agriculture in the five Universities to organize SASP agribusiness conferences and engage top-performing students in their penultimate year for the internship, mentorship and scholarship awards.
The SASP conference was themed ‘Feeding Millions, Making Billions: the Opportunities for an Agripreneur’, and focused on sharing deep insights about the opportunities that exist in agribusiness, leveraging the success stories of agripreneurs in the landscape to inspire the students, highlighting the gaps that exist in the sector and the potential roles of youth across the value chain.
The conferences were held in MOUAU, FUNAAB, ABU, and OAU. Students in ABUAD were invited to participate at the conference in OAU.
Professors in the Faculties of Agriculture in the schools and key players in the agribusiness landscape participated in the conferences. Sahel reached over one thousand two hundred (1,200) students, engaged over twenty-five (25) professors and lecturers, and hosted five (5) guest speakers during the SASP conferences.
The guest speakers were Mr. Tomiwa Ogunmodede, Head of Marketing at FarmCrowdy Nigeria; Mr. Idi Mukhtar Maiha, CEO of Zaidi Farms Ltd.; Mr. Sadiq Abubakar Falalu, CEO of FaLGates; Mr. Godwin Umeaka, CEO of Coscharis Farms; Mr. Samson Ogbole, Co-founder of PS Nutrac.
The invited agribusiness industry players shared deep insights on their experiences in agriculture and highlighted the opportunities that exist for students in the agricultural sector. The Sahel team shared industry knowledge and facilitated panel discussions on key strategies critical to transforming the educational system in Nigerian Universities to inspire and equip undergraduates with the right skills to become successful players in the industry. In addition, young professionals at Sahel who are OAU and ABU alumni shared their Sahel experiences with the students.
The Universities were thrilled about the impact of the conferences and the depth of knowledge shared with the students.
Professor Udo Herbert, the Dean of Post Graduate School, during his speech in MOUAU, appreciated Sahel for according to the students the opportunity to participate in an agribusiness conference, he explained that the SASP conference was the first of its kind in the University and it was a gift to the students.
The students were inspired as they engaged the SASP team with agribusiness-related questions, discussed their perception of the agriculture sector and shared their challenges as undergraduates in the Faculty of Agriculture. Sahel also held on-campus interviews with the students shortlisted for internship and scholarships.
It was a worthwhile experience for the participants, the guest speakers and for Sahel. In the coming weeks, selected scholars will be invited to Sahel’s head office in Lagos for their one-month internship, mentorship and scholarship programme.