The Nigerian Youth and Agriculture
These days many youths see agriculture as old-fashioned, i mean why should i carry a hoe and a cutlass? To ruin my hands? Some even go as far as saying "why should i study agriculture for five (5) years? it's supposed to run for six(6) months. It's funny oh, but I'll tell you what; agriculture was the first occupation of man, it brought about civilization to the human race and has over-time gone far beyond our imaginations. Agriculture has become so advanced that there are diverse opportunities to embrace and explore, so advanced that it's so interesting and easy.
They say we are the leaders of tomorrow, but many of us counter it, we tend to counter it because our aspirations aren't channeled to the right places. Many of us are looking at the oil sector, politics, quick money etc , I'll have you know that i believe this phrase "we are the leaders of tomorrow" and i want each and everyone of us to see it too.Why? As at 2019, the countries examined by the Global Food Security Index ranked Nigeria as the 96th out of 113th food insecure countries which is very bad considering the large population of Nigeria. The issue of food security has become rather too alarming and this pandemic was an eye opener.
As youths, we play very important roles in terms of reducing hunger/poverty, thereby improving food security globally. I'm aware of the challenges faced; no access to lands because it is too costly, so we can't afford it, access to loans/grants, we don't have the collateral to access those loans, our ideas are not taken into considerations, etc, but here's the thing, we shouldn't wait for the government any longer, agriculture is a broad sector with diverse opportunities for all, we just need to sit down and draft our plans properly, pitch that idea for grant opportunities like its your last option, invest in a farm, align yourself with that organization and grow, put yourself out there and i assure you, you'll be noticed.
Agriculture still remains the largest sector of the Nigerian economy and as such, the government is leveraging on the agriculture sector by collaborating with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to ensure food security. Nigeria is determined to end the era of food exports in order to develop the cassava and rice value chains. Also, the Nigeria fisheries sub-sector contributes to about 3.4% of the annual GDP. In order for us to reduce the importation of fish, the government has selected aqua-culture as the major value chains for the next four years and these are areas that should be leveraged on.
About 70% of the Nigerian youth are involved in agriculture one way or the other, which shows that many are leveraging on the schemes put in place by government as well as other agricultural organizations such as the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation that promotes youth entrepreneurship and employment through access to business development services, as well as Information and Communication Technologies(ICT) solutions. This will allow youth to leverage on finances for their agribusinesses and access to markets thereby creating pathways in terms of creating job opportunities in the agribusiness world.