Agriculture: Organisations to commence training of 30,000 Nigerians in agribusiness
As expert seeks policies to encourage youths in industry
Works and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, are set to train 30,000 young Nigerians on agribusiness in Lagos, Kaduna and Kano States.
While encouraging more youth participation in Nigeria’s Agriculture, Executive Director, National Agricultural Extension Research Liaison Services, NAERLS, Zaria and Professor of Agriculture, Emmanuel Ikani, called for deliberate government policies to bring Nigerian youths into merchanised Agriculture.
He made the call while addressing participants of the training yesterday in Zaria, where he stated that Nigeria cannot move forward until agriculture is fixed through the youths.
Professor Ikani said, Nigeria does not need 70 per cent of her population to be in agriculture before it feeds itself and exports, but a sizable number with the right skills and modern farming technology.
“Before Independence, Agriculture was the bedrock of our economy, with Cocoa from South, groundnut pyramid in the North and palm kernel, palm oil and rubber from the East and the economy was booming and was even the best in Africa.
“When we discovered oil, we ran into trouble and abandoned agriculture; we stopped putting our money where our mouth is, and that is why agriculture remains where it is today, hoe and cutlasses.
“Today, we have over 70 per cent of our population, our adult force in agriculture.
This is not only wrong, it is an indication that we are not doing things right; a job that, only five people should do, 75 people are doing it and we are still where we are.
“Elsewhere like in America, only about four to five per cent of the population is into agriculture and they are feeding the nation and still exporting.
“So, if we must get it right, we have to do agriculture as a business.
“We should not be doing agriculture with hoes and cutlasses at this age. This is the reason it becomes imperative to bring in the youths and train them in modern farming techniques, because this is the only way we can change the narrative, as youths have the tendencies of embracing new things, unlike the old people who always want to insist on the traditional ways of doing things. If we do this, the country will be better for it,” he said.
Also speaking at the event was Business Development Officer of YAW, Abdulsalam Muhammad Muhammad who said the training programme which is sponsored by MasterCard, YAW and IITA, is designed to empower youths in the agric-business value chains, to enable them take opportunities in the agric food sector.
He said, “Youths constitute about 70 per cent of the population and mostly excluded in the opportunities that are bound in the country.
“Most of these youths are unemployed and it makes them vulnerable to social vices and other evils in the society, hence the need to engage them to take advantage of the opportunities and make meaningful lives for themselves.”
Muhammad further said, the beneficiaries of the training would be coached on entrepreneurial skills, financial skills, practical farming training and mentorship on how to develop their business plan, as well as linkage with financial institutions. Nigerianpilot