Soy Excellence Center and ITF Collaborate to Support the Protein Needs of a Rising Nigeria 

Fostering Capacity Building and Workforce Training Targeted at Protein Professionals and Enterprises

[Lagos, Nigeria; 21 June 2023] - The Soy Excellence Center(SEC), a U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) initiative, is proud to announce significant strides in its mission to enhance capacity building and workforce training for early-to-mid career protein professionals and enterprises in Nigeria. This vital work has been made possible through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with our key partner, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) of Nigeria.

Jim Sutter, CEO, USSEC says, “USSEC’s Soy Excellence Center programming leverages the knowledge of the U.S. Soy industry. We are proud to collaborate with the Industrial Training Fund of Nigeria and industry to help advance the Nigerian protein industry, delivering a world-class training curriculum to empower trainees with relevant skills and help promote local economic growth.

The partnership between the USSEC's SEC and the Industrial Training Fund of Nigeria, funded in part by the United Soybean Board, marks a significant milestone in the SEC's efforts to expand its training curriculum to current and potential trainees throughout Nigeria across the Agri Training Centers. By working together, the SEC and the Industrial Training Fund aim to provide essential training and education to professionals in the protein industry, equipping them with the skills and knowledge necessary to drive innovation and growth in Nigeria's agricultural sector while supporting the needs of protein enterprises to access world-class curricula.

The Director General and Chief Executive of the Industrial Training Fund represented by Mrs. Lami Dakwak, Director, Technical & Vocational Skills Training Department, ITF emphasizes, “This strategic partnership between ITF and USSEC in a curriculum-based skills training program through its Soy Excellence Center allows us to access world-class learning platforms and resources. The focus on soybean farming, poultry, and aquaculture helps us address food security issues, promote good nutrition, and prepare our people to take on the challenges of trade and commerce. This partnership also delivers solutions to balance Nigeria’s current job creation, employability, and empowerment needs for Nigerian youths while building capacity in the agricultural and protein value chain. This partnership is vital to our vision of a vibrant and rising Nigeria.”

Reflecting on the partnership, Kevin Roepke, Regional Director – South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, USSEC adds, “This historic agreement is emblematic of the power of public-private partnerships. By leveraging the Soy Excellence Center’s outreach, USSEC and ITF can further achieve greater nutritional security by creating value for Nigeria’s protein sectors.  As 45% of Nigeria’s population consumes well below global protein recommendations, USSEC is confident this partnership will help be a catalyst to grow Nigeria’s animal protein industries.”

This public-private partnership plays a vital role in Nigeria's strategic planning as it prepares to accommodate a rapidly expanding population. Currently ranked as the 15th most populous country globally, Nigeria is projected to become the third most populous nation within the next 25 years. Considering this growth, it is imperative to invest in capacity-building and workforce training initiatives to meet the future demands in this sector.

Dr. Michael David, Michael David, Country Team Lead – Nigeria, USSEC says, “The Soy Excellence Center's commitment to excellence in training and development, coupled with the support of our partners, signals its dedication to driving sustainable growth and prosperity in Nigeria. Through collaborative efforts and the implementation of comprehensive training programs, we envision a future where skilled protein professionals contribute significantly to ensure the country's economic development.”

The SECs remain dedicated to fostering a sustainable and thriving protein industry in Nigeria through comprehensive capacity-building and workforce training initiatives. With nearly 160 participants undergoing primary and intermediary courses in poultry and feed milling courses in just this year, and with the active participation of nearly 360 protein professionals in our bespoke digital community, the SECs are democratizing access to our excellent and learned course advisors, other like-minded protein professionals in Nigeria and around the world. This access to knowledge anytime, anywhere, digitally is crucial to scaling the vision and commitment of this MoU in support of a rising Nigeria.

About ITF:

The Industrial Training Fund is a Federal Government Agency of Nigeria with the mandate to provide, promote and encourage the acquisition of skills in industry and commerce with a view to generating a pool of trained workforce sufficient to meet the needs of the private and public sectors of the economy. ITF also sets training standards in all sectors of the economy and monitor adherence; and evaluate and certify vocational skills acquired by apprentices, craftsmen, and technicians in collaboration with relevant organizations to meet the expanding and changing demands for skilled workforce in the economy. To learn more, visit

About U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC)

Soybeans are the United States’ No. 1 food and agricultural export. The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) is focused on building preference, improving the value, and enabling market access for the use of U.S. Soy for human consumption, aquaculture, and livestock feed in 82 countries across the world. USSEC is a dynamic partnership of U.S. soybean producers, processors, commodity shippers, merchandisers, allied agribusinesses, and agricultural organizations; and connects food and agriculture industry leaders through a robust membership program. USSEC is farmer-funded by checkoff funds invested by the United Soybean Board, various state soybean councils, the food and agriculture industry, and the American Soybean Association's investment of cost-share funding provided by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). To learn more, visit and, and engage with us on USSEC’s LinkedIn, TwitterFacebook  and U.S. Soy’s LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube.

About Soy Excellence Center:

The Soy Excellence Center (SEC), an initiative by the U.S. Soybean Export Council, focus on skills building of early-to-mid career protein professionals and enterprises in emerging markets through world class workforce training and professional development to help meet local nutrition and food security needs and support economic growth. USSEC is collaborating with diverse partners including local food and agriculture universities and organizations to deliver training in five core subject areas – aquaculture, feed, food, poultry, and swine. USSEC operates Soy Excellence Centers in four regional hubs – the Americas, Asia, Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. To partner on skills building in emerging markets, visit

This Press Release was partially funded by U.S. Soy farmers, their checkoff and the soy value chain. 

Mrs. Lami Dakwak, Director, Technical & Vocational Skills Training Department, ITF and Mr. Jim Sutter, CEO, USSEC, signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between USSEC and the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Nigeria.