Nigeria: Involvement Of Youths In Agriculture Key To Food Security | Land Portal

By: Ruth Tene Natsa

Date: June 15th 2016

Source: The Leadership


One of the key challenges to the development of the nation’s agro sector is the  country’s ageing farming population. Ruth Tene Natsa writes on the need to encourage  youths to go into agriculture as a business.


The importance of youths in the nation’s economy cannot be undermined because of their population. National records show that the youths make up over 50 per cent of the total 160-180 million total population, while their successes in various strata’s have shown that their innovative skills in the use of modern equipment as well as their strengths and creative abilities make them a necessity to the development of modern economies and the repositioning of the nation’s agriculture sector.


Sadly in a nation with such huge human resource, the youths are mostly unemployed and left to waste, often only used as human tools of violence during elections. They are constantly found migrating from rural to urban communities in search of white collar jobs to the detriment of the nation’s economic and agriculture security and often left at the mercies of criminal and power-minded bigots.


Nigerian youths are faced with  challenges of  lack of access to credit/loan facilities, poor mechanisation, lack of access to lands, lack of capacity and mentoring as well as poor incorporation of technology in their agricultural practices.


But this should not be so as the nation could benefit from the use of their strengths and skills in ensuring food security.In an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP recently, a young farmer, Nkiru Nnameago,  said, “The Youth Farm (Y-Farm) aims to establish and promote at least 10,000 youth-led farms and agribusinesses across Nigeria and Africa by 2020.”


She, however, lamented that  youths in agriculture don’t have  access to land, finance, market, mentoring, farm inputs and equipment.


According to her, youths could benefit from  agriculture  education, viable careers and businesses, improved livelihoods ,jobs, entrepreneurial opportunities among several others”


As a way forward for the development of Nigerian agriculture, the young farmer has called on the Buhari-led government to adopt and replicate youth-led projects especially the Youth Farm (Y-Farm) Project aimed at  establishing  and promoting  at least 10,000 youth-led farms/agri- businesses across Africa by 2020, featuring African and national youth agricultural festivals, marketplace, schools boot-camp on sustainable agriculture, e-platforms, community outreaches on agribusiness and climate smart agriculture as a means to capturing the attention of the youth in agriculture.


A young prospective farmer and graduate of civil engineering, Daniel Ariahu, meanwhile has lamented that there was little or no space for youths in agriculture.


“Four years after graduation, I can barely boast of a decent job and yet I can barely afford to set up my farm. I love agriculture and will love to go into rabbit farming, but I do not have the finances or land to practice it,” he said.


Interestingly, a compelling need to restructure the thinking of the Nigerian youths to see agriculture as a business and not just a developmental issue has been agreed by many as a key solution to solve the problem of drudgery, create millions of jobs, generate employment and wealth and also reduce and eradicate hunger through improved food production among several other benefits, but these can only be achieved by creating the space for them through better funding and access to facilities.


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Photo source: IITA via Flickr/Creative Commons (CC By-NC-ND 2.0). Photo: © IITA

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