Meet The Youth Using Innovation To Ensure Food Security In Africa

Today, we will be reading the story and works of a passionate Nigerian Youth at the forefront of the fight against extreme poverty, and hunger in Africa.

Okonkwo Kenneth Chukwuebuka

It is inconceivable that over 65% of the World’s arable Land lies in Africa with readily available man power and an ideal climate to cultivate numerous crops to feed the world, yet, Hunger, extreme poverty, malnutrition, and unemployment are the major challenges facing our great continent.

Millions of Africans go to bed daily without knowing where the meal of the next day will come from and we see hundreds of thousands of African youths risk death by crossing the Mediterranean see in search of green pastures. Africa produces 20 countries out of the 24 countries with the highest stunting rate of over 40%, 58 million children under the age of 5 years are stunted in Africa with 14 million being wasted which is due to poor and under nutrition – these figures are indeed worrisome and this has been the singular reason why passionate African Youth like Okonkwo Kenneth Chukwuebuka has decided to commit his strength, energy and time to fighting hunger, poverty and improving the livelihoods of the poor and the indigents through sustainable/climate smart agricultural practice and creating opportunities for the rural youths. His work has impacted over 5,000 lives across Nigeria.

In 2018, Kenneth coordinated a year-long youth empowerment program tagged FARMING FOR EMPOWERNMENT and ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT (F.E.E.D) Project, which was sponsored by the United States Consulate in Lagos Nigeria through Protectozone Sustainable Livelihoods initiative to train and equip 35 rural youth from Majidun community in ikorodu with skills in sustainable agricultural practices, poultry production and agribusiness. These FEED participants have gone on to successfully established flourishing agribusinesses and have contributed to diverse agricultural value chains across Nigeria, putting into practice the skills and experience they gained from the FEED training.

He also coordinated the Eco-friendly school farms project where he trained 500 school aged children from 10 public schools in Lagos with hands-on co-creation learning on environmentally friendly and sustainable agricultural practices that would improve their nutrition while also equipping them with requisite agripreneurial skills. He also innovated the 50% Water Saving Irrigation Kit System; Which was borne out of the fact that conventional irrigation systems such as sprinklers were very expensive and unaffordable by most rural farmers, thereby resulting to poor or low productivity as they were unable to farm during dry season due to their dependency on rainfall as their only source of irrigation? This project helped 2,343 rural farmers in Lagos, Oyo, Ogun and Imo state, Nigeria to increase their farm productivity, ensure all season farming, reduce water loss, alleviate poverty, fight hunger and also promote the participation of women in agriculture.

Kenneth has spoken in several of Television and radio programs, conferences and seminars encouraging Youths to embrace agriculture as a business while also calling on the government to make key investments into the sector. He has written two research papers titled “effects of different rates of fermented pig slurry on soil, yield and growth of Upland rice in owerri imo state Nigeria” and “Leveraging STEM education for sustainable food production in West Africa” which will be presented at the 7th African Engineering Education Association International Conference (AEEA-IC), 2019.

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