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Developing a Youth Farm/ Food Processing and Packaging Center in Ilorin Kwara State, Nigeria

To increase food availability in the African population, and eliminate post-harvest food loss using mechanized farming approach.

Photo of Pascal-Anita Thomas-Okeke
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

African Youth Matters Association

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small NGO (under 50 employees)

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Under 1 year

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

We selected Ilorin, the capital city in Kwara State due to her harmonious reputation. The city covers an area of 765 Square Kilometers.

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

The reason we selected Ilorin the capital city of Kwara State is because of the harmonious nature of the people.

Kwara State is in a strategic location in the west-central part of Nigeria. It is bounded by Benin to the west, Niger to the north, Kogi to the east and Ekiti, Osun, and Oyo to the North. 

Our vision is in line with that of the State Government and its people. 

The government is willing to partner with our association to achieve our vision

We are connected to the place by Nationality.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The inhabitants are Yoruba, Nupe, Busa, and Baatonun peoples.

Their foods, are combination of soup/stew/assorted meat eaten with eba or pounded yam. Other foods are moin-moin (steamed bean pudding), akara (bean cake), Ewedu, Gbegin (which is made from beans) and efo riro (a type of vegetable soup). Other popular dishes are Jolloff rice, fried rice, fried yam and stew, egg stew, cassava, corn, plantain etc.

 Kwara state has a tropical climate. It has two major seasons, dry season and wet season. Each season lasting 6 months. The highest temperature are recorded from November until May. The lower temperatures are from June to October.

Most part of the state is made up of plain land. And the hills that exist are oke-baba hill, sobi hill, and moli hill.

The primary ethnic group is Yoruba, with significant Nupe, Bariba, Fulani minorities.

There are 16 local government areas in Kwara State.

Baatonum and Bokobaru languages are spoken in the Banuten local government area, Nupe langauge is spoken in the Edu local government area and Bokobaru language are spoken in Kalama local government area.

The people of Kwara state share the philosophy of self help and collective efforts in building communities. This dynamic element has the possibility of impacting meaningfully on the lives of communities when its applied to conceived projects such as the one we have.

Their culture, consists of the folk/cultural philosophy, Christianity and Islam. 

Music and dance is an important part of their culture. 

Kwara state has numerous mineral resources such as Gold, tourmaline, limestone,marble, feldspar, clay, kaolin, quartz, and many other mineral deposits in the Northern part of the state. In the the Southern parts, you will find cocoa, cotton, tobacco, coffee, palm produce and kolanut.

Agriculture plays an  important role in Kwara state economy. 

The principal cash crops are cotton, cocoa, rice, coffee, kolanut, and tobacco. 

The most important staple crops are yam, corn (maize) sorghum, millet, onions, beans. 

Farming is not mechanized in about 98% cases. The tedious physical job involved in farming makes it discouraging for the youths to show interest, leaving farming to old people in rural areas.

Therefore, farming call for a serious intervention in the form our project is conceived.

Aquaculture is not really done in a meaningful yet in the State.  

A great percentage of fish products come from other countries. 

This means that the development of aquaculture has a high possibility of success in the State.

The hopes of the people are that investors come to their State to indulge in commercial farming (large scale farming) and food processing to make nutritious and cheap foods available for consumption.

Due to the high cost of foods and the inadequate food processing and nutrition development, many people are under nourished. There are many cases of severe malnutrition in children. 

Our project has the vision to produce and process a very wide range of raw foods and plant based food supplements.

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Current environmental challenges are flooding, erosion, pollution, energy etc. These challenges will continue into 2050 unless the government takes decisive actions to correct these challenges.

Diet challenges, come in the form of insufficient foods for many adults and children. Many of these people, suffer from malnutrition related diseases and sickness. Our food process project will address this problem by making quality processed foods available at very cheap price to the community. Our youth farm project, will teach many youths how to farm and grow crops. They will be able to feed their families and sell the rest at cheap prices to others.

Economical challenges:  Due to the wide range of poor family in Kwara state, many of the people are not able to feed their families. Many farmers do not have the capital to go into commercial farming. This is affecting agricultural and food processing development  and its further compounded by the lack of government funding which on whole, make it impossible for would be farmers to acquire large hectares of land to practice mechanized farming. The consequences, is low level of food production.

This is the reason why we are soliciting funding from private foundations such as the Rockefeller foundation. We hope that more private investors will come to the state to invest in the agricultural sector.

Cultural challenges: The fact that many people in the state have not been open to the idea of buying bio- organic industrial processed foods. The people believe that these processed foods are not the same as the fresh produce the from the market.

Some believe they cannot afford the industrial processed foods. or they cannot afford it.They are starting to understand that industrial processed foods are helping to eliminate post-harvest food loss, reduce food prices especially produce that are seasonal and are affordable.

Technology challenges: At present, the infusion of technology is rather very poor in the state. There is not enough technology infused into farming. Poverty and lack of government funding, make it difficult for farmers to acquire tractors, equipment, and machinery for mechanized farming.

Another challenge is lack of information and communication technology for farmers and lack of food processing technologies.

Policy Challenges: Absence of well articulated policies from the government is a major issue. Many of the policies do not have good strategies, goals, objectives etc. 

We are optimistic that by 2050, these challenges shall be sufficiently addressed by the government because the population is increasingly demanding cheap foods. The population dissatisfaction over high price of foods will be difficult for the government to ignore beyond 2050.


Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Our vision will address environmental challenges by adopting new farming practices. We will deal with flooding by constructing evacuation routes. Our vision will mitigate soil erosion by adopting contour farming, cover crops, planting vegetation as ground cover, and matting the soil. We will address the challenge of pollution by avoiding the use of chemicals in farming and by converting the organic waste into compost. To address the energy challenge, we plan to use fuel-less generators to power our equipment and by building our own bio-rector for methane gas.

We will address the diet challenges by developing various food items and super foods supplements. The use of super foods supplements with other foods will adequately deal with the problem of under nutrition and malnutrition that is affecting many people in the state especially children.

We will address the economical challenges by producing very cheap quality bio-organic foods to market to our communities.This will make it possible for us to cater to the very low income bracket.In addition, We hope to train the youths in modern agricultural practice and food processing techniques. Our goal is to produce future young farmers to replace the aging  farmers. This will create employment for the youths and increase food availability in our city. This strategy guarantees the sustainability of our vision. 

We will address the issue of cultural challenges by organizing workshops and seminars in schools within the state to create awareness of the importance of preventive nutrition. The seminars and workshops will address the importance of shifting from the traditional mindset of only wanting to buy raw produce from the local market to accepting preserved vegetables and fruits. This practice will help local farmers reduce post-harvest food loss and reduce cost of fruits and vegetables.

We will address the issue of technology by moving away from fossil fuel based farm equipment and machinery to bio-diesel farm equipment and machinery. In addition, we will adopt other forms of renewable energy technology,

Our vision will address the issue of policy because the current food systems are unsustainable and threatened by global pressures. 

Boost knowledge and innovation in rural communities, ensuring that they participate in the knowledge economy and maximize opportunities rising from advances in the research and innovation system.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

These are the ways our city and the lives of the people will be different on a positive note.

On the level of environment, the waste resulting from farming activities will decrease drastically because our project will teach farmers  how to convert the organic harvest waste into compost. 

On the level of diets, our city will see a re- connection of citizens with food fostering behavioral change towards healthy sustainable diets and nutrition, responsible production and consumption, increased food and nutrition security for urban and rural dwellers and improved social inclusion and equity of all actors of the food systems.

On the level economics, our vision will bring about the expansion of the agricultural sector of the city economy which will bring about lower food prices.

On the level of culture, as we create awareness about healthy organic locally made foods that are inexpensive, the people will begin to embrace the idea of growing their own foods so that the issue of under nutrition and malnutrition will be tackled in our city by 2050.

On the level of technology, our envisioned innovative products will prompt development of equipment and machines to help us achieve our vision.

On the level of policy, we will form a coalition with farmers in our city. The focus will be to engage with policy makers in the local, city and state level to bring about policies that will address climate change, improvement of legislation and reform of outdated legislatures.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?


Our vision for a regenerated and nourishing future for our city and our people by 2050 by adopting environmental models that have been proven to work in other places.

Johannesburg was chosen as a model for our city project due to the proven track record of its success. These three areas of their system we plan to initiate for our city and hopefully implemented by 2050.

Our first environmental goal is to improve the water quality in our city. The approach will lead to the reduction of pollution, minimizing the release of toxic substances from farming, treating wastewater, and increasing recycling and reuse of water by 2050.

We can achieve our vision by the use of artificial intelligence (AI) . WE have picked three different AI systems that are helping Johannesburg. These systems will be discussed with various stakeholders in our city and funding will be allocated for these projects. As you read further, you will come to know that AI has been used in providing solutions.

Johannesburg efforts against climate change began in 2006 when the city developed its first strategy that outlined the visions of creating a smart city that is backed by development, growth, resiliency and sustainability. The city launched what is known as the Climate Change Strategic Framework (CCSF). The aim of CCSF was to bolster the city to deliver on climate change action across sectors in the municipality and outside involving communities, businesses and citizens.

Going further, the city of Johannesburg made climate action a mainstream process while estimating GHG emissions with a bottom-up approach. The city then used the C40's modelling tool "CURB" that assists cities and local climate planners in understanding the energy and emission implications in a better way.

In 2014, 87% of energy in South Africa came from fossil fuels. Rather than developing an energy-oriented, short-term policy to reduce emissions, the country chose to go mainstream in reducing emissions by involving the entire society and creating a holistic approach.

As a result, Johannesburg allocated $143 million worth green bonds in 2014 for investments in emissions reduction. This came to be one of the most significant aspects of the climate change strategy.

The Green Bond was a smart, pioneering imitative introduced by Johannesburg in South Africa to raise funds in order to respond comprehensively to climate change while adhering to sustainable management of resources.Today, the Green Bond is successfully funding projects

In 2011, Johannesburg started a city wide initiative of converting methane emissions from landfill waste and wastewater into energy. The city makes productive use of the methane gas emitted from the decomposition of fermentation of biological waste by using it as a source of energy.

Methane gas emissions are more potent than CO2 in polluting the environment. It is the reason methane gas need to be used to heat energy as a way of mitigating its emission.

Our project aims at empowering the underprivileged communities by providing the youths with an opportunity to collect waste biological matter, and the knowledge of using the waste to produce bio-gas for energy. 

These are the environmental initiatives that we plan to introduce to our city leaders, policy makers, farmers, and local NGOs to so that our city will become different than what it is today by 2050.

We also plan to launch an initiative with the ministry of agriculture in our city in educating farmers to adopt changes that will make it possible for the city to meet up with the rest of the world through the use of AI to achieve results that are favorable to the environment.

By the year 2050, farmers in a city will have access to AI technology that they can use to engineer drainage or evacuation routes to deal with the problem of flooding.

Farmers will mitigate soil erosion by adopting contour farming, cover crops, planting vegetation as ground cover, and matting the soil.


Our vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for our city and our people will address the issue of policy by forming a coalition with farmers in our city. The focus of this coalition will be to engage with policy makers at the local, city, and state level

1. We plan to engage with policy makers for the development and implementation of a city bio-economy strategies to tackle specific environmental and climate challenges.

2. We plan to facilitate evidence-based policy with policy makers, by developing bio-economy based statistical and administrative data.

3. We plan to promote co-creation of innovation and the multi-actor approach.

4. We plan to improve knowledge flow and connection between actors within local, city,      and state governments in the agricultural sector. 

5. We plan to work together with policy makers to facilitate the creation of new value-        chains and value-added jobs and competences to sustain viable rural community  economics.

6. We plan to work with policy makers to boost knowledge and innovation in rural communities, by ensuring that they participate in the knowledge economy and maximize opportunities rising from advances  research and innovation.

7. We plan to work with policy makers to pass policies that will support stability and    socio-economic development. 


Our vision will help to bring about a regenerative and nourishing food future for our city, and our people by proposing activities that will include business models available to entrepreneurs and local authorities.

By developing circular and sustainable business models with large potential for replication in other cities in our state. These models will be relatively low cost, low risk, and low levels of technical complexity. This will help to expand and diversify the sector by mobilizing a wider range of players in the bio-based economy including small businesses, and farmers.

These changes will bring about a thriving economy to our city that will benefit the whole population.


Our vision will bring about a regenerative and nourishing food future for our city and our people through a cultural change by means of innovative food products that will certainly be seen as novelty by people of different ethnic groups and culture. They will on the basis of  the advantages our products provide, shift from their cultural position, hitherto unchanged.


Our vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for our city and our people will be achieved by use of technological innovations. These will bring our city closer to our vision by 2050.

One of these technological innovation, known as Agricultural Robots, (AGBOTS is been developed as a prototype including BONIROB from Deep Field Robotics.

The car-size Bonirob robot can navigate autonomously through an agricultural field using video, and GPS. The developers are using some machine technology to help robots to identify weeds before pulling them.

Furthermore, robots can be equipped with sensors, cameras, and sprayers to identify the pests and apply pesticides.

It is most likely that in the future, the AGBOTS will be connected to unmanned tractors and the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, thereby enabling the whole system to practically operate independently.

Another technological system that will be available to farmers in our city has to do with harvesting. It is important to know when the crops are ready while planning according to the weather and completing the harvest operation in a given time-frame. Panasonic has developed a tomato-picking robot integrated with advanced cameras and algorithms that aid in the identification of tomato's color, shape ,and location to determine the ripeness. The robot picks the tomatoes by the stem to avoid bruising.


Our vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for our place and people will bring about a revolution in the way we think about food. A distinction is made between healthy diet and just eating. Many of our people, think that having the means to buy any type of food that they want want to eat means they are making the good choice and eating well. Wrong.

Our vision has a desire to bring an awareness to our community and its people of the importance of knowing, and eating what is a healthy balanced diet. The ignorance of this, constitutes a diet challenge that is affecting a very large number of people in our community. Its our goal to inform our people what constitutes a healthy balances diet- a good number of fruits and vegetables, a meal rich in carbohydrates, dairy products, grass-feed meat and fish, and use of natural food supplements. We, in our vision will regulate the substances that could lead to weight gain and health problems.


How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Terra viva


Join the conversation:

Photo of Constanza Castano

Hi Pascal-Anita Thomas-Okeke ! Thank you for publishing, and for your update!

I like very much your inspirational approach and the good use of the Prize's tools. Way to go!

A great way to improve and revise your work is by connecting with others and receiving feedback. I encourage you all to provide some feedback on one another’s Vision submissions through the comments section to support the refinement of your work.

I hope for the best for the Yoruba, Nupe, Busa, and Baatonun Peoples.

Warm regards,


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